Radio cuts could affect crisis plans

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CUTS to BBC local radio could jeopardise emergency broadcasts during civil crises, councils have claimed.

The corporation wants to axe medium wave output in parts of the country where alternative FM services are available.

But the Local Government Association (LGA) said the plans would threaten advice messages during floods, heavy snowfall and major traffic accidents.

The LGA, which represents more than 350 local authorities in Wales and England, said the FM frequency often broadcast “cracking static” rather than clear sound.

Its culture board chairman Chris White said: “Local radio plays a key role in how councils manage an emergency and the BBC regularly sits on resilience planning panels along with police and fire authorities.

“Time and time again these arrangements have proven invaluable to local communities, from updates about school closures, heavy snowfall, road accidents and flooding, to bulletins about more unforeseen emergencies such as train crashes or dangerous criminals on the loose.”

He feared the BBC was “underestimating the serious implications and risks to people’s safety”.

But a BBC spokeswoman said: “BBC Local Radio will continue to be local in times of crisis or emergency, that will not change.

“The proposal is to end medium wave transmissions, except for stations where listeners depend on medium wave as an alternative to FM.”