New resilience study to examine how infrastructure can withstand future challenges

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) is to examine the resilience of the UK’s infrastructure in a new study announced by the chancellor in the budget.

The study will consider what action government should take to ensure that infrastructure can cope with future changes, disruptions, shocks and accidents.

Services like utilities, transport and telecommunications are becoming increasingly sophisticated and interdependent. While this has enabled efficiency improvements and better delivery, infrastructure systems are now more vulnerable and if disrupted can have a very significant impact on people’s lives. 

The NIC will look at how resilience can be assessed and improved, including through better design and application of new technologies.  

The study will: 

  • Review UK and international knowledge and approaches; 
  • Develop an understanding of public expectations and response to the potential loss of infrastructure services; 
  • Analyse the resilience of economic infrastructure systems and the costs and benefits of improvements; and 
  • Undertake ’stress tests’ of sectors, areas and organisations.

The study will build on the NIC's first National Infrastructure Assessment and form the basis for resilience to be addressed in future assessments. Chairman of the NIC Sir John Armitt said: “The nation’s infrastructure is not only critical for our economic success and prosperity, it’s central to each of our daily lives. Whether it’s the roads and railways that take us to our destinations, the telecoms that connect us or the energy we use to heat our homes, we all rely on these systems running smoothly. Our new study will examine how we can ensure our infrastructure is fit to cope with future changes and challenges, while at the same time capitalising on the opportunities presented by an increasingly digital world.”

The commission will look to work with government departments, private sector companies, researchers, professional bodies and international organisations which have an interest in this topic.

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