This WebLog offers a brief introduction to all the Modules taught by Rory MacPhee at Falmuth Marine School. For full information on the Marine Environmental Management Degree see

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Environmental Protection

Welcome to Duchy College students

A. In order to pass this module, you are required to achieve the following learning outcomes:

1. Identify and interpret activities and materials likely to impact on the natural environment
2. Recognise the risks associated with hazardous materials and/or wastes
3. Discuss appropriate responses to a variety of incident case-studies
4. Review counter-pollution strategies

B. I will manage your learning by using this website as our primary learning platform, publishing a study guide, delivering your assessment paperwork for the second session and marking your work in timely fashion.

C. Assessment 1:

You are required to publish a web-log and develop a portfolio of work indicating adherence to the tasks identified in your learning materials which will be delivered to you at the commencement of the lecture series.

Task 1
Your portfolio should be introduced with an Abstract, and conclude with a Summary and References (60%)

The Abstract is a short 500 word overview of the contents of your portfolio; the Summary is a 1000 word reflection on your understanding of the measures we have currently in place to manage and mitigate environmental damage; the References are a comprehensive list of the sources you have consulted following the Harvard System.

Task 2
You will be guided to set up and write a web-log which will contain both Abstract and Summary with appropriate hyperlinks to relevant online materials. Aim for at least 12 hyperlinks. (40%)

Note 1: I will be looking for evidence of enthusiastic application to tasks, imaginative architecture, coherence, neatness and breadth of reading.

Note 2: Consider adopting products such as MindMeister to support your work. This might be particularly relevant for the Abstract.

Note: the nature of your portfolio is your decision. The objective is to ensure that your learning actions are recorded so that future review is more accessible. thus you may wish to submit a traditional folder. Or you may wish to use a folder as the basis, but amplified by a website containing links to other on-line tools such as MindMeister.

Asessment 2: Unseen Essay.

The process will be as follows:
On May 15th we will meet together, and I will inform you of the title of the essay you are to write.

You will then have till 1st June to complete the essay.

Terms of reference:

“The process of recovering from an emergency starts almost immediately the incident begins. It is essential that the affected community is returned to normality as soon as possible.” Gordon Hunter, Chair, Essex Resilience Forum

Discuss this statement in 3000 words having particular regard to possible strategies that are designed to protect the natural environment.

Key sources: which sets out a basic recovery strategy. Guidance from central government Short news item on the fire at Newquay. The keener amongst you might find it useful to travel to Newquay and undertake a site assessment and interview any operatives. (See also )


1. Use what knowledge you have to draft a speedy response – 15 minutes
2. Read the allotted chapters from the key source and undertake a speedy literature search – 15 minutes
3. Summarise task 2 in five minutes to the group – 60 minutes
4. Develop a list of key words – eg recovery, regeneration – 10 minutes
5. Write a synopsis of the essay and email to me – 60 minutes guide, but work at your own pace though it must be complete within 2 hours. I will write your initial assessment and email back by close of business. A synopsis is a draft of the areas you wish to cover, ideas, USP's, opening paragraph, ideas and possible quotations.

Points to note:

What is the environment? (Einstein quote)
What is an emergency?
What is normality?
Use case studies, eg Buncefield
Try to bring in COMAH to your analysis
What happens if there is any conflict in priorities?
What is the effect on our health and well being of environmental degradation
Do not make direct quotations without clear referencing, do not paraphrase

The Programme of Learning

Session 1 : April 24

Key Quote:

"Disasters and conflicts can impact the environment in ways that threaten human life, health, livelihoods and security. Disaster managers and humanitarian workers must therefore identify and address acute environmental risks quickly and consistently as an integral part of effective emergency response."
John Holmes, Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

We will start by examining environmental disasters with a global perspective. Your first task (LO1) as individuals is to consider what categories of emergency there are, and what are the possible consequences to the environment.

It is worth noting that there are two generic categories of emergency: point disaster, ie a one off event like an earthquake, and diffuse disaster, ie sea level rise. Disasters might be purely ascribed to human intervention, or influenced by human activity, or purely Act of God. The consequences of climate change have been identified here by the Insitute of Mechanical Engineers.

The next task (LO1)is to compile a selective list of global emergency situations since 1960. You should do this as a group, defining in the first instance how you will engage on this as a team. The outcome of this activity must be both a list and a map. Take digital images of the map for your portfolio. The list should be backed up with at least 3 links to online video resources.

Please ensure that you complete this task by the end of the day, emailing me with your work to

This session will be suported by a formal presentation with the title "The Work of the Joint Environment Unit".

Please study the following resources, and, as task write a reflection of at least two.

Environmental Emergencies and the JEU
What are environmental emergencies?
What is the JEU?
Environmental disaster reports
UK Disaster Case Studies
What is Rapid Environmental Assessment?
Disaster Reports
Natural Hazards Centre
United Nations Environment Programme

Session 2: May 1

Waypoint 1: Contemporary Issues: we will commence proceedings with an analysis of the environmental implications of swine flu. To set the scene we will catch up on the news and then look at two views expressed here: 1 2

How could water quality be affected? This research from NERC is key, amplified here

How many people might die in a pandemic, and what implications does this have?

What planning mechanisms are in place? The key resource is on UK Resilience.

Waypoint 2: Having extended our understanding of global disaster management from Session 1, (a recap will be necessary for thos of yyou who did not attend the session) we will now study the legislative background to civil protection and emergency response.

Civil Contingencies Act 2004

A single framework for civil protection - floods, pandemics, terrorism...

Integrated emergency management (IEM) comprises six related activities: anticipation, assessment, prevention, preparation, response and recovery. You must learn this by rote.

A good start to this area of study is the short guide published by the Cabinet Office. There are a large number of online summaries of the Act, but try this from the Essex Resilience Forum.

Your task (LO1) to support this session is to use MindMeister to map and analyse the components of the legislation. Please ensure that you enrol for this service and record your log in details.

DVD show: Civil Contingencies Act and How to Survive a Disaster

Community Risk Registers - see example here
BBC's Connecting in a Crisis here

Waypoint 3: Skills development: MindMeister and WebLog

Waypoint 4: How to survive a disaster - DVD followed by discussion.

Session 3: May 8

Disasters at Sea

We will start the session with a general overview of disaster response, and how we as humans are configured to cope when an event occurs which is out of the ordinary. This will be supported bya DVD from a recent Horizon programe - "How to Survive a Disaster" which is underpinned by this article. Context will be given by a discussion of "risk" and how this is defined in the UK, with particular reference to the National Risk Register.

The National Risk Register is a key document summarising the risk of disaster/catastrophe, and suggesting methods by which consequences can be mitigated. You should carefully and quietly attempt to synthesise the DVD and the Register. Perhaps ask yourself: are we aware of potential risks? are we prepared within ourselves to cope? do we know what to do in the immediate aftermath of a disaster? are our organisational structures sufficiently robust to ensure continuity of operation in teh post disaster phase? are we capable of rationally evaluating preparation and response in the post-disaster phase?

We will then look at two case studies - the Sea Empress Case and the Braer. you will adduce the facts from these cases, identify the environmental consequences and define the response mechanisms currently in place should similar events unfold.

The environmental consequences of the spill are defined here and here. For a series of videos on the environmental consequences of the Braer sinking, see here which is a copy of the DVD seen in class. Another video sequence relating to the sinking of the Erika can be found here and here and here

The response mechanisms currently in place are defined by the National Contingency Plan. A powerpoint presentation is here. The NCP Plan here

The environmental effects of the Sea Empress have been summarised here and here

Notes: The DVD Surviving Disasters raised many points which you need to summarise in your portfolio. One of the issues was the 9/11, so read this portrait of Rick Roscorola. How much do smoke hoods cost? How do we familiarise ourselves with fire?

Session 4: May 15

Unseen Essay - Assessment

Session 5: May 22

We will study the Buncefield incident in detail. You will individually develop a website which will summarise the details of the disaster, the response, the investigation and incorporate the video footage available on the internet (LO's 2 and 3) . See here for a summary from the BBC, and here for the stroy told from the perspective of a local resident.

We will commence the session with a sequence of videos summarising the issues:

Buncefield - three years on
Buncefield - newsreel

During this session you will address the following, putting the evidence into your portfolio's:

  • Write a short timeline of the incident - delivery 1030
  • Sketch a map showing land within five miles of the indident - 1100
  • Summarise the role of the lead agency in dealing with the environmental impact - 1130
  • Summarise the current position with regard to prosecutions - 1200
  • Quote Section 85 from the Water Resources Act 1991 - 1315
  • Define the following acronyms: BTEX PFOS MTBE COMAH - 1345
  • What are the implications to public health in the use of PFOS - 1400
  • Describe the engineering methods used to detect contamination - 1430

COMAH - read this to give an understanding of this important Regulation

Session 6: May 29

Conference in Falmouth "Livings from the Sea" and for tickets see the Poly

This conference will deliver broad learning relating to the human stories that underpin disaster scenarios in the maritime and coastal environments.

Session 7: June 5

Essay Feedback

Portfolio Submissions: we will peer review the portfolios during this session, so please have them ready by the day before.

We will focus on the National Recovery Guidance published by the Cabinet Office.

Session 8: June 12

Portfolio feedback

Moderated discussion: "This House believes that environmental protection is of relative insignificance in the immediate post disaster phase." The group will be split into two teams, one proposing the motion, the other disposing.

Summary Presentation:

Student Details:

Tricia Goldsworthy 07731458191 PZ

Chris Penrose 079740317096

Helen Bedford 07949611382

Jess Roberts 07850492608

Patrick Dunne

Sarah Mimnah

Dave McMahon

Robert Clarke

Thomas Usher 07969527079

Emily May Earl 07794409339;;;;;;;;;

email 1

Thanks you for your time today.


· Weblog platform established
· Portfolio format decided and purchased
· Dvd FAQ evaluation tool written
· Summary of Civil Contingencies Act started
· Reflection on the environmental impact of swine flu undertaken (blog would be good)

Email me work in progress if you wish for my comments,

Have a good weekend

Boscastle Video and then look at the Executive Summary of the Pitt Report
US Civil Defense Video from the 1950's

There are two key resources published by HMG: Emergency Response and Recovery and Emergency Preparedness, both very large documents. We will attempt during this session to drill down into the content of these documents. The day will start with a formal lecture on Emergency Response and Preparedness, followed by reading and tasks. Task 1: Interpret your study with a mind map, all of which will be coordianted on the whiteboard at the conclusion of the session (LO 3) Task 2: Moderated discussion relating the documents studied to one of the disaster scenarios identified in Session 1 (LO 3)

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