Civil engineers body says country needs to be better prepared for extreme weather events

The Institution of Civil Engineers is asking for views on how the UK’s infrastructure can be made more resilient for climate change. 

Civil engineers and other stakeholders have been invited to respond to a consultation, which will run until 27 January, and will gather expert insight on the policies required to adapt existing infrastructure and plan for a more resilient future. 


The UK saw a severe wind drought in December last year and the ICE has said that the country’s infrastructure needs to be more resilient against more extreme weather

According to the World Bank, the cost of building climate-resilient infrastructure could be as high as £54bn a year by 2030 for low- and middle-income countries, but investment in adapting infrastructure remains low. 

Changes in typical weather patterns could impact on energy generation – for instance, while wind power generated 28% of the UK’s electricity over the course of 2022, a severe wind drought in December saw wind energy generation drop to just 3.4%. 

David Smith, chair of ICE’s sustainable resilient infrastructure community advisory board, said: “It’s clear that regardless of our progress toward our net zero goals, we need to be ready for climate change no matter what.  

“Industry is used to building for extremes, but the definition and the frequency of weather extremes has shifted in recent years.  

“We are going to experience more extreme weather events in the future, and we need to understand how to adapt existing infrastructure, how to build and adapt for our future needs, and who is responsible for making the decisions required.” 

Last July, the outgoing chair of the Environment Agency, Emma Howard Boyd, called for a Treasury-commissioned review to assess the economics of climate resilience, speculating that the nearly £650bn of public and private infrastructure investment planned by 2030 could be at risk unless climate impacts were factored into planning and delivery. 

In October, the joint select committee on the national security strategy released a report which found that there had been an “extreme weakness” at the centre of government on the issue, described as a critical risk to the UK’s national security. 

Responses to the consultation will inform an ICE policy paper to be released later this year.