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Cyber threats, solar storms and emerging technologies – how prepared is the UK?

Tuesday 16 March 2021

The House of Lords Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee will tomorrow question two panels of witnesses on the UK’s resilience.

Topics the Committee will explore include how regulations are kept up to date as new technologies are developed and deployed, the resilience of the UK’s national grid, the challenges in building resilience in areas such as cyber security and the importance of cross-sector collaboration on resilience.

The session will take place virtually on Wednesday 17 March at 10.15am and can be followed on Parliament TV.

Giving evidence on the first panel will be:

  • Lindsey Fussell, Group Director for Networks and Communications, Ofcom
  • Cathryn Scott, Director, Enforcement and Emerging Issues, Ofgem
  • Chris Train OBE, Former CEO of National Grid Gas Distribution (Cadent)

Questions the Committee is likely to ask include:

  • What mechanisms are used to ensure resilience and security against cyber threats? How do cyber risks compare with other risks in terms of their profile, likelihood and severity, and how are they addressed?
  • How can the competing requirements of keeping prices of gas and electricity to the consumer down but infrastructure spending and resilience up, be balanced?
  • How are providers required to communicate with both the regulators and customers in the event of a near miss or an emergency?
  • What progress has been made since the UKRN Cross-sector Resilience project which took place in 2015-16?

Giving evidence on the second panel will be:

  • Elisabeth Braw, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute
  • Prof Jim Hall, Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks in the University of Oxford
  • Professor Tim Watson, Director of the Cyber Security Centre within Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick

Questions the Committee is likely to ask include:

  • Is resilience a useful concept to use in discussing disaster preparedness and recovery? What else, alongside resilience, should we strive for to ensure the UK is prepared to deal with future emergencies?
  • What individual or economic behaviours would strengthen national resilience against risks? How could Government or society incentivise resilient behaviours?
  • How well is academic and industry expertise used in the creation of UK policy on risk and resilience?

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