Solar Events

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 15th July 2020.

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Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard Conservative, Blackpool North and Cleveleys

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Civil Contingencies Secretariat on the UK's preparedness for a coronal mass ejection.

Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The UK has one of the most robust energy systems in the world. The Department works closely with the Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS) on preparedness, resilience, and emergency planning for the risks to critical energy infrastructure, including Severe Space Weather.

Severe Space Weather was added to the UK’s National Security Risk Assessment (NSRA) in 2011.The CCS works closely with Lead Government Departments, including BEIS, to periodically update the NSRA, to ensure robust mitigations are in place.

The Government, working and engaging extensively with National Grid, other infrastructure operators and the Met Office Space Weather Operation Centre (MOSWOC), has taken significant steps to ensure the UK’s preparedness for major space weather events, such as a Coronal Mass Ejection.

Additionally, in October 2019, the UK Government announced a £20m boost to predict severe space weather events. This nearly quadruples investment from government into research that can improve systems at the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre. This will further build the UK’s knowledge on how to forecast and better prepare for these space weather events.

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