Infrastructure forms the backbone of our modern economy. It underpins our living standards and contributes to the competitiveness of UK businesses. But the infrastructure that guarantees our energy and water supplies and enables safe and reliable road, rail and air transport is vulnerable to the effects of climate change and to the natural environment more widely.
We already have some insight into what a changing climate might mean for our infrastructure; high temperatures affecting rail lines leading to delays, floods affecting water infrastructure, closing motorways and damaging century-old bridges, more extreme winter weather bringing costs and disruption to services.
- 'Infrastructure, engineering and climate change adaptation: ensuring services in an uncertain future', Royal Academy of Engineering, 2011
Instead of seeing infrastructure as a set of disconnected assets, we believe that looking at infrastructures together with the systems connecting them - transport, utilities, communications and environmental management - will help us better understand how they are affected by our changing environment, offering important opportunities for the UK economy.
NERC wants to work with business and policymakers to build on these opportunities and to address the challenges facing our infrastructure in the 21st century.
Who should be interested?
Companies working in the areas of transport infrastructure (roads, railways, airports, ports, canals, bridges and tunnels); utilities infrastructure (distribution networks, power generation including renewables, water); environmental management (flood management, green infrastructure, waste management and drainage) and communications (space weather, broadband, satellites).
Also, integrators of environmental science such as engineering consultancies, large scale developers and the construction industry, as well as policymakers and regulators with responsibility for infrastructure.
Current funding opportunities
- 'National Infrastructure Plan', 2013, HMT.