The Society responded to a public consultation on the role of the GDS. The response was based on the report Making the UK safer: detecting and decontaminating biological and chemical agents, which the Society published in April 2004.
The key points made in the response are:
- Detection and decontamination are intrinsically linked. The efficiency of the UKs response to a CBRN incident would be improved if one central organisation was responsible for coordinating all aspects of detection and decontamination.
- Experimental research is urgently required to address data gaps on the efficacy of decontamination and detection equipment and procedures; the GDS should be involved in undertaking or commissioning this work.
- Strong links must be built between the GDS and other Government Departments and bodies involved in responding to a CBRN incident to ensure that its work fits with the entire response.
- The GDS should develop mechanisms to access the best academic and industrial scientific research into novel decontaminants and new detection technologies.
- The GDS would be well placed to develop criteria for safe exposure levels and set threshold levels for different environments to be classified as safe for return to normal use.
- The GDS must ensure that its remit is explicit and its customers are aware of where responsibility lies, to avoid confusion when an emergency situation occurs.