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Lords Committee to consider hazardous risks to the United Kingdom

Thursday 15 October 2020

A House of Lords special inquiry committee has today been appointed to consider risk assessment and risk planning in the context of disruptive national hazards.

The Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee will be looking at hazard-related risks to the United Kingdom which have the potential to cause significant human, economic, environmental and infrastructure damage. These include events such as flooding, heatwaves and global pandemics.
The Committee will now begin its work and will report by the end of November 2021.

Topics that the Committee is likely to consider include:

  • The national risk identification and assessment process
  • Governmental risk ownership
  • Planning for emergencies
  • Emerging and unknown risks
  • International co-operation


Lord Arbuthnot, Chair of the Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee, said:

“The UK is at risk from a multitude of hazards, some of which could change life as we know it. We need to know what these risks are; we need to prevent what we can; and we need to plan for the arrival of those we cannot prevent.
“Several limitations have been identified with the Government’s approach, principally associated with identifying risk owners, balancing science and policy, dealing with unknown risks, and acting to prevent future emergencies. The work of this new Committee will be crucial in addressing these limitations and ensuring, to the extent that we can, that our country is protected from any significant harm.
“The Committee will be making the best use of the knowledge and experience of Members of the House, drawing on their broad technical, political and security expertise.
“Covid-19 has been a wake-up call and a reminder that events on a global scale can happen with minimal warning. We cannot be complacent and need to do all we can to prevent these threats and enhance our resilience if the worst happens.”

Members of the Committee are:

Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom (chair)

Lord Triesman

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Lord Browne of Ladyton

Lord Robertson of Port Ellen

Lord Rees of Ludlow

Lord Mair

Viscount Thurso

Lord Clement-Jones

Baroness McGregor-Smith

Lord O’Shaughnessy

Lord Willetts

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