Lessons Learned from Extreme-weather Emergencies on UK Highways


As a result of extreme weather events, their effects and impacts on the UK highways network, the Department for Transport (DfT) commissioned research to identify any lessons that have been learned for ensuring the resilience of the highway network.


A specific time window, between the winter storms and floods of 2015 (Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank) and spring 2020 was investigated.


This period was chosen because events prior to the winter of 2015 had been reviewed and changes had been integrated from these reviews into guidance.


This research covers the following nine areas:

  • Multi-agency integrated emergency management (IEM).

  • The concept of stabilisation.

  • Resilient networks.

  • The strategic road network (SRN), local highways interface.

  • Collaborative working, mutual aid and military aid.

  • The role of ministerial groups: civil contingencies committee (COBR), lead government departments and the ministerial recovery group (MRG).

  • Democratic institutions and community resilience.

  • Business continuity management (BCM), training and exercising.

  • Corporate memory and learning lessons.

The report identifies sector learning from the experiences of a number of highway authorities and underlines the value of collaborative working and the sharing of experiences by those who have recently suffered major events. The professional development of key personnel at all levels will ensure they are qualified, experienced and empowered to make crucial decisions as part of an integrated team as and when circumstances dictate, it says.


The report is available here.


Department for Transport November 2021



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