The authorities must “deal with” the “major”. national security risks’ caused by the consequences of deterioration climate crisis across many areas of critical nat infrastructuresaid the inter-party committee of deputies and colleagues.

The Joint Committee on National Security Strategy has warned that the UK’s lack of preparedness for future climate-related events means that key infrastructures such as electricity, water, transport and communications are vulnerable.

The committee is chaired by a deputy from the Labor Party Dame Margaret Beckettsaid there was compelling evidence that environment the emergency is already having an impact on UK infrastructure.

It is also clear, the committee notes, that no single minister is taking responsibility for adapting the UK’s infrastructure to deal with the effects of the climate crisis.

Their report said it “reveals extreme weakness at the center of government”.

The paper cited recent examples of the effects of severe weather in what it described as a “damning report”.

These effects include:

  • Three killed in train derailment in Scotland after heavy rain in August 2020
  • Almost a million people lost power, some for long periods, after strong winds brought down power lines in north-east England and Scotland during Storm Arwen in November 2021
  • A fault in the railway drainage systems which almost led to flooding at the National Blood Bank in Bristol.

The committee also pointed out that one of their evidence sessions was taken during a heatwave in July 2022, when temperatures peaked at 40.3C.

Dame Margaret said: “There are many examples of the extremely serious impact of this climate change has already affected our critical national infrastructure. And in the future there will certainly be more of them – almost certainly even more serious ones.

“But what worries me the most is the lack of evidence that anyone in government is focusing on how all the effects can come together to create cascading crises. There are simply no ministers who are responsible for ensuring that our infrastructure is resilient to extreme weather conditions and other impacts of climate change.”

The committee criticized the self-styled “minister for infrastructure sustainability” in Boris Johnson’s administration – then cabinet minister Michael Ellis – for “gross dereliction of duty” for refusing to give evidence to them.

The committee has been gathering evidence for its inquiry for the past year and has warned that more severe weather and its aftermath are soon to come.

They highlighted how high temperatures can cause electrical cables to sag and soften roads and their ruts. Flooding is expected to be more severe and, as a consequence, rail embankments will be more frequent.

The dependence of other infrastructure sectors on electricity – partly a consequence of the transition to net zero – “creates additional vulnerability”, the committee said.

Dame Margaret said: “Storm Arwen showed how quickly the effects of a power cut can affect other sectors. In the aftermath of the storms, people were left without access to landlines and unable to even call emergency services in areas with poor cell signal. These cascading crises are a serious danger to the functioning of the UK economy and to society – therefore a serious risk to national security.

“Events like Storm Arwen and summer heatwaves will become more frequent. Just last week we learned that the UK could face blackouts early next year if we lose further gas supplies from Europe. The new prime minister must bring together all branches of government to mitigate potential disasters, including the effects of climate change.”

She added: “This government must finally recognize that prevention is better than cure and move away from its dangerously reactive approach to risk management.”

The Independent contacted the government for comment.