At the beginning of March, following the extreme weather of winter 2013 and 2014, I asked Richard Brown CBE, former Chairman of Eurostar and now a non-executive director in my department, to lead a review of the resilience of the transport network to extreme weather events. I am today (22 July 2014) publishing Mr Brown’s report.
I welcome this report and am grateful to Richard Brown and his fellow experts, Brian Smith and John Curley, for completing such a thorough analysis in time for the transport industry to consider the findings before the onset of next winter. The report considers the effects of extreme weather on roads, railways, ports and airports and makes some 60 recommendations for action by transport operators and central and local government. These range from short-term actions, such as those designed to improve basic maintenance of ditches, drains and vegetation, to longer-term recommendations, such as those on the economic signals and legislative provisions which have a bearing upon the resilience of our transport system.
As today’s report notes, transport operators on the whole responded well to last winter’s series of extreme weather events, but there were clear areas of weakness. I therefore welcome the practical measures identified to improve the transport network’s performance further at times of disruption.
Given the comprehensive nature of Richard Brown’s report, I propose to consider his recommendations in more detail and to publish a full response in due course. In the meantime, copies of the report have been placed in the libraries of the House.