Government accepts Commission's recommendations for better resilience

Government has responded formally to the Commission's 2020 study on infrastructure resilience.

Published: 15 Sep 2021

By: Ben Wilson

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London's flood barrier on river Thames and Canary Wharf

The government has today (15 September 2021) published its formal response to the Commission’s 2020 study on resilience, Anticipate, react, recover – Resilient infrastructure systems.

This study called for a new framework for resilience which anticipates future shocks and stresses; improves actions to resist, absorb and recover from them by testing for vulnerabilities; values resilience properly; and drives adaptation before it is too late. It also made three specific recommendations to government around resilience standards, stress testing and long term resilience planning.

The Government’s response accepts the potential role for resilience standards for key sectors, and stress testing and exercises to identify vulnerabilities and improve preparedness. The response indicates that government will move to establish and embed these approaches in the National Resilience Strategy, pending the outcome of the current call for evidence exercise.

Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said:

“Unfortunately, we are reminded of the need for constant vigilance in ensuring the resilience of our infrastructure networks and services on an increasingly regular basis.

“We are pleased government has accepted the value of transparent resilience standards for key sectors, so households and business can know what level of service they can expect even in the most testing of circumstances. Ministers have also agreed in principle to our recommendation for more consistent stress testing by infrastructure operators to provide assurance that those standards are realistic.

“The forthcoming National Resilience Strategy must set out how these will be implemented in practice, with a clear statement of government’s priorities. The Commission stands ready to work with government on its response to our recommendation on long term planning as it develops the strategy.

“But a strategy document is not the end of the story. Our whole resilience ecosystem, including the role of regulators and operators, must be reviewed regularly to ensure it remains fit for purpose and is aligned with wider goals such as the net zero target and climate adaptation.”

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