Loss of UtilitiesCritical Infrastructure is the name given to all of the different essential services which we rely on as part of modern society and the economy. The UK’s critical infrastructure is made up of Electricity, Water, Gas, Oil / Fuel, Transport, Telecoms, Food, Health and Financial services.
Many parts of the infrastructure network are dependent on one another eg electricity is required at water pumping stations, telecoms and electricity are required to allow cash machines and cash registers to function correctly. Those services which could directly or indirectly impact upon other elements of the infrastructure network are detailed below.
Electricity / Gas incident
Wide scale loss of electricity or gas would have a direct or indirect impact on all other infrastructure sectors. In the event of a major gas or electricity supply emergency, both industry and government will have significant roles to play in managing the incident and its consequences.
The gas and electricity companies would be responsible for the practical and operational management of the incident. The companies have well-established plans and procedures in place to respond to incidents, which can range from the management of a local incident to a national-level disruption.
A wide scale telecoms disruption would have a direct or indirect impact on all other infrastructure sectors.
Individuals and businesses are increasingly dependent on the telecoms network either for mobile and fixed line telephony or provision of internet
Water disruptions include burst water mains, supply disruption and minor or major contamination. Dependant on the severity of the incident a multi-agency emergency may be declared to ensure that people’s basic water needs are met.
There could also be a significant impact on health and food provision, as well as an impact on the capabilities of fire and rescue services.
There are no realistic scenarios within the UK which would lead to a shortage of food supplies however, if a large area of Lincolnshire’s agricultural land was affected by an incident it would affect the economy of the county as well as impacting on food prices nationally.
Some of the impacts of a utilities disruption are:
- People exposed to poor sanitation and lack of drinking water.
- Homes could be without heating and have limited ability to heat food and water.
- Limited ability to keep food cold or frozen.
- No ability to get fuel from filling stations.
- Unable to get cash from cash machines or make card purchases.
- Telecommunications would be limited (including mobile phones).