diamond geezer

 Friday, August 09, 2013

What's the biggest threat to London?

Flood? Fire? Flu? Alien invasion? There is one group of people at City Hall whose job it is to know, and to help us prepare. They're the London Resilience Team, staffed by London Resilience Officers, and they do all sorts of things behind the scenes to keep the capital hazard-ready. Planning for Mass Evacuation. Promoting Business Recovery planning. Developing the London Resilience Partnership Strategy. Coordinating Electricity Disruption workshops. Updating the London Recovery Protocol (which is a disaster recovery plan you'd probably rather not be thinking about).

It should therefore come as no surprise to hear that London has an official risk register. That's the London Risk Register v2.0, a list of potential perils which might beset the capital, ranked by likelihood and impact. Almost 100 "Reasonable Worst Case Scenarios" are considered, each relating to an unplanned event. Communities and businesses are invited to give due consideration to the register's contents so that they remain resilient in the face of heaven knows what. And that's why the plan is shared publicly, providing visibility for forward planning, and scaring the heebeegeebees out of those of a nervous disposition. [pdf]

So, what are the biggest threats to London? The London Resilience Team work this out by rating each risk on a 1 to 5 scale for impact and likelihood, then combining the scores. Impacts rank from Limited (1) to Catastrophic (5), while likelihoods are rated by how likely something is to happen over the next five years (1 in 20000 chance for the lowest category, a 50/50 chance for the highest). This produces a four-point categorisation by colour, with green for the lowest risks and red for the highest. London has four risks in the red zone, four that worry the authorities above all others.
• Severe inland flooding
• Fluvial or surface run-off
• Influenza Pandemic
• Telecommunication failure
Two of the red risks are flood-related. Severe inland flooding could follow sustained heavy rainfall over two weeks, leading to mass evacuation, fatalities, loss of essential services and "significant regional economic damage." Flash flooding or rising river levels would cause more localised damage but could still lead to up to 15000 people being evacuated. Meanwhile influenza could affect up to half of London's population, with 10% of us contacting healthcare professionals in the peak weeks and a fatality rate of up to 2.5%. And just imagine the effects of a 3-day telecommunications failure, with widespread loss of landline and mobile networks, and the emergency services’ communication systems similarly affected. Be afraid, London, be very afraid.

Below is a grid showing a summary of the risk ratings for some of the risks in London's Risk Register. The scale up the side is Impact, and the scale along the bottom is Likelihood. The nearer the top right-hand corner, the scarier. I've been selective, so less than half of the official total number of risks appear below. But the bottom row really is that empty, because the Resilience Team don't bother to include every minor fear or worry.

London's Risk Register June 2013 - Summary of Risk Ratings
5» Large toxic chemical release
» Major reservoir or dam failure
» Local fluvial flooding
» National electricity failure
» Telecommunication failure
» Severe inland flooding
4» Aviation accident over an urban area
» Loss of drinking water due to major accident
» Accident involving transport of hazardous chemicals
» Drought
» Fluvial or surface run-off» Influenza pandemic 
3» Land movement
» Bridge collapse
» Localised explosion at natural gas main
» Accident involving transport of fuel or explosives
» Large building collapse
» Pathogen released
» Storms and gales
» Low temps and heavy snow
» Emerging infectious diseases
» Influenza epidemic
» Major coastal and tidal flooding
» Railway accident
» Loss of emergency fire and rescue cover because of industrial action
2 » Forest or moorland fire
» Industrial action by key rail workers
» Industrial explosions and major fires» Animal diseases
» Constraint on fuel supply at filling stations
» Heatwave
» Influx of British Nationals
» Building collapse
» Loss of local telecommunications
1    » Local accident on motorways and major trunk roads 
 Low risk Medium risk High risk

And not an alien invasion in sight. If all of this is proving interesting, perhaps you'd like to follow London Prepared on Twitter to keep up with what's going down. Or you could like the London Prepared Facebook page, which is currently engaged in a week-long quiz about Warning Signs. Both would of course be useless in the face of a major communications infrastructure failure, but at least you might have learnt something useful to prepare you for the worst. And the London Resilience Team even have their own blog, updated weekly, tucked away on the london.gov.uk website. Last week's Duty Officer Update featured news on water supply disruption and planned road closures, whilst reminding Londoners that "the threat level from International terrorism remains at Substantial." I'll certainly be checking back today for this week's update, just in case...

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream