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Critical infrastructure in England is ‘ill-prepared ‘ for emerging climate related threats

The resilience of many aspects of critical infrastructure in England needs to be enhanced to counter the more frequent and severe flooding and heatwaves that can be expected in the future. This is the key finding of a new report by the Government’s official adviser on preparing for climate change.

In the report, the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change makes various recommendations for improving critical infrastructure resilience, including:

  • The comprehensive approach put in place by the power sector to protect their networks from severe weather should be adopted by water companies, for major roads, ports and airports, and by telecommunications providers.
  • Past investment in flood defences, and recent improvements in forecasting, early warning and flood emergency planning, helped limit the impacts of the tidal surge in December 2013 – the largest in sixty years. These efforts must be stepped up to prevent more damage in future as sea levels rise and development in the floodplain continues.
    Limited budgets mean that three-quarters of existing flood defence structures are not being adequately maintained. Regulations to avoid surface water flooding caused by new development should be introduced, after repeated delay. This was recommended six years ago by the Pitt Review. More must also be done by local councils to manage local flood risk. They should make sure that statutory local flood risk management plans and strategies are published, and agreed actions are taken. They should also enforce rules to avoid continuing loss of gardens to hard surfacing.

Read the report.

•Date: 9th July 2014 • UK •Type: Article • Topic: Critical infrastructure protection

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