• A POSTnote on infrastructure and climate change will look at how resilient the UK’s infrastructure is to extreme weather conditions predicted by climate change.
  • It will include the side-effects of extreme weather such as coastal erosion, and examine solutions.
  • Provisional start date November 2019: To contribute expertise, literature or an external reviewer please email Dr Lorna Christie.

Due to climate change, the UK is experiencing higher average temperatures, annual rainfall, and sea levels. The decade from 2008–2017 was, on average, 11% wetter and 0.8oC warmer than 1961–1990. Projections indicate warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers in future. For example, the probability of seeing a summer as hot as 2018 during 1981–2000 was less than 10%, but this could become 50% by the middle of the 21st century. UK coastal flood risk is also expected to increase during this century, including a rise in the frequency and magnitude of extreme water levels around the UK coastline, contributing to an increased rate of coastal erosion.

Extreme weather events create risks for critical UK infrastructure, including energy, transportation and communications systems, and can negatively affect essential services, public health, well-being, and the economy. 

This POSTnote will look at how resilient the UK’s physical infrastructure is to the extreme weather conditions predicted as a result of climate change. It will focus on built infrastructure, such as buildings, telecommunications, transport and energy networks. It will assess: the risks posed by extreme weather to UK infrastructure, how well existing infrastructure is likely to withstand such risks, and progress towards improving resilience.