A report that considers the effects of extreme weather on roads, railways, ports and airports has put forward 60 recommendations for action by transport operators and central and local government.
The report was commissioned at the start of March, following the extreme weather of winter 2013 and 2014.
Richard Brown CBE, former chairman of Eurostar and now a non-executive director in the Department for Transport (DfT), was asked to lead the review.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin (pictured) welcomed the findings of the report.
He said: “I 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 the 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.”
David Bishop, president of the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT), said: “This review highlights the very real danger to our economic recovery from inadequate resilience in key aspects of the nations strategic infrastructure. ADEPT has consistently warned that the impact of climate change and more extreme weather on communities has to be countered by investing in flood defence, sustainable drainage systems, and more resilient roads and railways, it’s an ‘invest to save’ argument.
“There are 183,000 miles of local roads in England and the weather we have faced in recent years has caused huge disruption to our transport network. This report acknowledges the challenges faced by local authorities as they work to keep local roads open during extreme weather.
“The harsh fact is that, unless more resources are made available, local authorities are going to have to make the difficult decision to stop maintaining some minor roads, making them less resilient to extreme weather. We are really pleased that the government’s report recognises this and we hope something will be done to combat the shortfall in transport funding for regions outside London.
“Our regional transport network is already hard pressed. Long-term underfunding of local road maintenance has left a backlog of repairs which has been exacerbated over the last few years because of damage by bad weather. More funding must be made available to the regions to help keep our local roads open and reduce the impact of extreme weather on our local economies.”
To read the report in full click here.