This is the final report of the Resilience Study. Its key conclusion is that a new framework for resilience is needed to ensure that the UK’s energy, water, digital, road and rail infrastructure can cope with shocks and stresses, now and in the future.
The UK’s economic infrastructure has, for the most part, proved resilient to shocks and stresses over recent years. However, over the past year, major floods and the UK’s worst power cut for a decade have offered a glimpse of the disruption that can happen when something goes wrong. While the flooding was localised and the power cut short term, both had significant impacts on families and businesses. The risks of disruption will be exacerbated by climate and other changes.
Resilient infrastructure can continue to provide the services the UK relies on despite shocks and has the capacity to adapt and transform to longer term chronic stresses, risks and opportunities.
To deliver resilient infrastructure, a framework for resilience is required that:
- better anticipates future shocks and stresses by facing up to uncomfortable truths
- improves actions to resist, absorb and recover from shocks and stresses by testing for vulnerabilities and addressing them
- values resilience properly
- drives adaptation before it is too late.
Much of what is needed is already in place, but improvements can still be made:
- government should publish a full set of resilience standards every five years, following advice from regulators, alongside an assessment of any changes needed to deliver them
- infrastructure operators should carry out regular and proportionate stress tests, overseen by regulators, to ensure their systems and services can meet government’s resilience standards, and take actions to address any vulnerabilities
- infrastructure operators should develop and maintain long term resilience strategies, and regulators should ensure their determinations in future price reviews are consistent with meeting resilience standards in the short and long term.