Anti-terror barriers keep fans safe at Switch-On and Britney concert in Blackpool - but there's no specific threat

The barriers - which allow people through but not cars - were placed across roads leading to the Tower Festival Headland in Blackpool ahead of the Switch-On
The barriers - which allow people through but not cars - were placed across roads leading to the Tower Festival Headland in Blackpool ahead of the Switch-On

Anti-terror barriers were installed in Blackpool for the first time ahead of the biggest weekend in the resort’s calendar.

The devices, which allowed pedestrians through but blocked most vehicles from getting near the arena, were put across roads leading to the Tower Festival Headlands site where the Switch-On took place on Friday night.

READ MORE: Fans advised to arrive early at Britney concert in Blackpool

They will remain in place for Saturday night's Britney Spears concert.

While there is no specific terror threat to Blackpool, crowded areas such as the Promenade are considered most vulnerable in the event of a terror attack.

It comes as Blackpool was described as being better prepared than other towns to respond to a major incident such as terrorism.

A report to Blackpool Council’s audit committee says “close working with police, counter terrorism units and other agencies” means the resort “is more advanced in terms of preparation than other towns”.

The report added: “The council is working closely with the emergency services and is implementing robust plans with good mitigations to address the perceived risk.”

The town has a major emergency plan and exercises have been carried out to test out the systems that are in place. These will continue to be held at least annually.

Other measures include ensuring there are enough trained volunteers to offer support in the event of a major incident, while space has been set aside for an emergency control centre as part of the council’s Vitaline call service.

But town hall leaders say there is “a need to raise the profile of the ERG (emergency response group) to recruit new volunteers and explore what links can be established with other ERGs across Lancashire”.

The report says a training exercise was held in July this year to test the emergency response if there was an incident at the Blackpool Air Show, setting out three potential scenarios.

It adds that it is important the resort is prepared so visitors can be confident that Blackpool is a safe place to be.

Councillors will consider the report when the audit committee meets at the town hall at 6pm on Thursday.

Why do we need them?

Coun Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “With our partners, we have developed plans and measures to improve safety in the town during key busy days and events that provide some mitigation without ruining the enjoyment of what people are trying to see and do here in Blackpool.

“We have brought in temporary barriers which people may have seen over the weekend. These are very flexible and can be used for different events in different ways and are far less intrusive than other options.”

Armed police have been a visible presence at major events in Blackpool over recent years including the annual two-day air show.