Flood protection for critical infrastructure under the spotlight

The summer floods of 2007 have acted as a catalyst for a change in the way we deal with extreme weather and now researchers are working with utilities to see how we can build resilience into the facilities that provide us with critical services.

While the floodwaters themselves caused extensive damage to property, it was the subsequent loss of critical infrastructure that proved the biggest problem.

Failing water and electricity supplies and the collapse of communication networks caused major social and financial upheaval in affected areas, showing that in major emergencies the failure of services we rely on have a direct impact on incident management and recovery.

With this in mind and following on from the recommendations of the Pitt Review, CIRIA is leading a new research project, Flood resilience and resistance for critical infrastructure and wants to hear from those involved in the management of infrastructure.

The research is funded by the Environment Agency and other leading infrastructure asset owners to increase the resilience of the UK's critical infrastructure assets to flood risk.

The project highlights that increased cross-sector collaboration is vital in order to identify interdependencies between "critical" assets.

The cooperation of the transport, energy, water and telecoms sectors, with regulators, local resilience forums, and local authorities will reduce potential health and safety risks, facilitate improved preparedness for floods, improve flood incident management and reduce the time and resources required for recovery.

The project team of CIRIA and Arup are currently engaged in an extensive consultation phase of the project and are seeking engagement from all those involved in the management of infrastructure assets in relation to mitigation and adaptation to flood risk.

Anyone wanting to take part in the survey can do so by following this link.

Sam Bond



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