Flooding and National Security Risks

RUSI published a good article this week asking if environmental issues should play a greater role in national security thinking.

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Apart from the ridiculous use of the term ‘climate change denier’ the article describes how many politicians have reinforced calls for climate change, and flooding, to be considered as a national security risk.

The thing is though RUSI, you are 4 years too late!

SDSR 2010 was pretty explicit in this regards, perhaps you forgot.

The National Security Council has the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change as one of its permanent members. One of the 14 published security policies is Maintaining operational readiness to provide military support for activities in the UK, another, Improving the UK’s ability to absorb, respond to and recover from emergencies.

The 2010 National Security Strategy identified a number of major risks, classified into three tiers, which the adaptable posture of the Strategic Defence and Security Review was designed to address.

One of the ONLY THREE Tier 1 risks was;

A major accident or natural hazard which requires a national response, such as severe coastal flooding affecting three or more regions of the UK, or an influenza pandemic

The 2012 to 2013 Annual Report on the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review had plenty to say about the Number 3 tier 1 Risk.

Perhaps the question to ask is why, despite the recognised Tier 1 risk of an ‘accident or natural hazard which requires a national response’ the overall preventative measures seem to have completely broke down and the response was fragmented, sometimes lacking in coordination and adhoc.

Service personnel filling sandbags, come on, we should be able to do better.




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February 22, 2014 5:11 pm

For those who may be interested (and get funded) this may be of interest.

Mike Gilbert has been seconded to Civil service and was awarded OBE – he took over from me at Newcastle then moved up slippery pole rapidly

Gas Institution tackles how businesses can respond to the next emergency crisis

Recent severe weather events have had a profound impact on our technology-dependent society. From storms that have battered the UK this winter, to the big freeze across the US, extreme weather has taken its toll on our transport networks, our communications channels and our ability to power and heat our homes and businesses.

The Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers (IGEM) is responding to these conditions by gathering businesses together for a one day event to look at the impact of different types of energy emergencies and how industry and government can prepare effective responses. The event will take place at IGEM House, Kegworth, Derbyshire on Thursday 20th March 2014.

Drawing on over 30 years’ experience, expert consultants Mike Gilbert and Andy Stevenson will demonstrate how you to protect your organisation’s reputation, people and assets from the dangers, operational risks and potential costs of an energy emergency.

The event will also cover the risks of dealing with emergencies, effective leadership and how to deal with government agencies to bring about an effective response to disaster.

For more information on this event or book your place please click here or for more information please contact the Julie Adcock at events@igem.org.uk