I was at a great workshop last week on Cities and one of the speakers, Alban Webb, talked about the UK's contingency planning during the Cold war. It included stunning clips from the film, Seven Days to Noon, produced in 1950, where Londoners were shown calmly evacuating the city within a day in response to the threat of a nuclear explosion. However, with the Strath Report of 1955, which studied the impact of thermonuclear weapons, it was clear that this kind of comforting scenerio would be impossible and the focus shifted to ensuring that key members of the government and military would survive. This strategy could not be shared publicly of course and so Webb suggested that what came next was the realisation that it was more important to be seen to have a plan, that actually having one that was workable. Lie to the public to keep up morale.

What I find quite striking about this, is that in relation to Peak Oil, the government has not even felt the the need to pretend to have a plan. As members of Transition Southport discuss, FOI requests from George Monbiot in 2005 and 2009, asking about UK planning for peak oil prior to 2020, resulted in the claim that it was simply not a problem. However, in a Guardian article that we've been talking about on our discussion list today, there is a link to a report presented to the government in 2009 about the impact of increasing oil scarcity and rising prices, which has recently been released as the result of another FOI request. Perhaps now I can look out for our updated 'Protect and Survive' type pamphlet coming through the post some time soon?