Resilient Infrastructure Systems – latest report from the National Infrastructure Commission

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) provides government with impartial, expert advice on major long-term infrastructure challenges, covering all sectors of economic infrastructure including energy, transport, water and waste water, waste, flood risk management and digital communications.

The NIC published its latest report on the resilience of UK infrastructure in May. The report is titled Anticipate, React, Recover – Resilient Infrastructure Systems. Read the report here.

Marc Pinnell, Managing Director, shares his reflections on the latest report:

“The report sets out a framework for resilience of the nations economic infrastructure. It seeks to ensure resilience is properly valued and tested for and that adaptation is actively driven – before it is too late.

The NIC’s framework for resilience introduces a new lexicon that we are all likely to become familiar with:

  • Anticipate
  • Resist
  • Absorb
  • Recover
  • Adapt and transform

As the report states, much of what is needed to ensure the resilience of our infrastructure is already in place.

A shining example within the flood risk management sector is the Environment Agency’s  Thames Estuary 2100 Plan.  The Plan is internationally recognised as a leading example of climate change adaptation. It is designed to be adaptable to different projections for climate change and sea level rise.

The Environment Agency is currently consulting on its 10-year review of the Thames Estuary 2100 Plan.  https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/london/thames-estuary-2100-updating-the-plan/

JBA is supporting the Environment Agency undertake its 10-year review of the Plan. We are providing technical assessment and specialist advice on aspects as wide ranging as policy appraisal, benefits management, economics, and asset investment planning.

The NIC report though identifies improvements that should be made in the way the UK addresses infrastructure resilience. It advocates the publication of national resilience standards every five years, that infrastructure operators stress test their assets regularly to ensure services can meet these standards, and that long term resilience strategies are developed and maintained by operators.

There is established good practice within the flood risk management sector and no doubt in other sectors. The opportunity, perhaps then, is to share and learn from best practice between sectors.  Operators and regulators across infrastructure sectors will need to pool thoughts, learning, expertise and resources if collectively we are to meet the challenges associated with infrastructure resilience. At JBA we are experienced in the application of our learning and expertise from one infrastructure sector to another. For many years for example, we’ve ported our expertise in risk based asset management approaches, gained through our work in flood and environment management, to the rail sector. More recently, we’ve been applying the same approaches in the energy sector, particularly associated with marine renewables.

I’ve no doubt there is other learning that we could apply to support infrastructure operators in remaining economic sectors and many other industries.”

Want to know more?

Contact us to find out how JBA can assist infrastructure operators and regulators establish clear standards, ensure systems are tested regularly and take action to deliver resilience both now and in the future.



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