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A zombie invasion is a problem that may seem to belong in a horror film rather than to real life, but, none the less, the British government believes it has worked out the best way to cope with one.In the event of an apocalypse brought about by an army of the undead, civil servants would co-ordinate the military’s efforts to “return England to its pre-attack glory”, according to a Freedom of Information request that has revealed the country’s contingency plans.
The MoD would not lead efforts to plan for such a zombie attack or deal with the aftermath because that role rests with the Cabinet Office, which co-ordinates emergency planning for the Government.
Details about the authorities’ surprising level of readiness for a zombie onslaught emerged in a response to an inquiry from a member of the public.
The MoD replied: “In the event of an apocalyptic incident (eg zombies), any plans to rebuild and return England to its pre-attack glory would be led by the Cabinet Office, and thus any pre-planning activity would also taken place there.
“The Ministry of Defence’s role in any such event would be to provide military support to the civil authorities, not take the lead. Consequently, the Ministry of Defence holds no information on this matter.”
The Army is frequently called on to save the day in zombie films. Soldiers arrive in the nick of time, for example, to rescue the hero at the climax of Simon Pegg’s 2004 comedy Shaun of the Dead.
This is not the first time that public authorities have provided tongue-in-cheek responses to Freedom of Information inquiries about zombies.
Last year, Leicester city council was forced to admit that it had no specific preparations for dealing with a zombie invasion, although the local authority stressed that certain aspects of its emergency plan would apply to any disaster. Bristol city council went rather further when asked what it would do in the event of an undead rampage through the West Country.
A senior official replied with a copy of a “top secret” internal strategy document setting out how the council would respond to a “zombie pandemic”.
Staff were told to listen out for code words in radio and television broadcasts to warn them that an attack was under way, and given health and safety advice on the correct way to kill zombies.
Under the heading “procurement implications”, the memo said Bristol city council had ordered suitable equipment for tackling the undead, “where possible, in line with our buy-local policy”. It added: “A catalogue of standard issue equipment – cuffs, stun guns, protection suits, etc – is available on the staff intranet.”
However, critics have accused people who make Freedom of Information requests about subjects such as zombies, wizards and vampires, of being time-wasters who are costing the taxpayer money.
Some fear that trivial uses of the recently won right to ask public bodies to release information they hold will give politicians an excuse to scale back the powers, which were introduced in full only as late as 2005.