BBC prepares secret scripts for possible use in winter blackouts

The BBC has prepared secret scripts that could be read on air if energy shortages cause blackouts or the loss of gas supplies this winter.

The scripts, seen by the Guardian, set out how the corporation would reassure the public in the event that a “major loss of power” causes mobile phone networks, internet access, banking systems or traffic lights to fail across England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland would be unaffected because its electricity grid is shared with the Republic of Ireland.

The public would be advised to use car radios or battery-powered receivers to listen to emergency broadcasts on FM and long-wave frequencies usually reserved for Radio 2 and Radio 4.

One draft BBC script warns that a blackout could last for up to two days, with hospitals and police placed under “extreme pressure”.

Another says: “The government has said it’s hoped power will be restored in the next 36 to 48 hours. Different parts of Britain will start to receive intermittent supplies before then.”

It is understood they were written by BBC journalists as part of routine emergency planning to deal with hypothetical scenarios. They include local details for the different regions and nations of Britain.

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