Government resilience to extreme weather scrutinised by PAC
The Public Accounts Committee will question senior officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Cabinet Office and the Met Office on Government resilience to extreme weather events on Wednesday 21 February.
Of the 89 risks on the Government’s National Risk Register, eight are extreme weather events, defined as those significantly different from average or usual weather patterns. Recent events, including severe storms, high temperatures, and droughts, highlight the challenges faced by the UK from these risks, whilst the pandemic underlies the need to improve resilience against future emergencies.
In January 2023, the Cabinet Office wrote to the Committee announcing the publication of its UK Government Resilience framework, designed to improve the management of civil contingency risks. Whilst the Government does have mechanisms in place to manage extreme weather risks, a National Audit Office (NAO) report into government resilience in this area found that these could be strengthened.
Based on the NAO report, the Committee will take evidence from senior officials from the Cabinet Office and DEFRA on subjects including:
- Does the UK Government have a clear vision and well-defined roles and responsibilities to manage national risks, such as extreme weather events, and the generic capabilities to deal with emergencies;
- What are the risks from extreme weather events;
- What is the Government’s understanding of risks and any gaps in its knowledge;
- How the UK Government can develop resilience;
- What is the appropriate pace and scale of adaptation required to fully prepare the UK for climate risks.