Oliver Dowden
Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden announced the launch of the register. Oliverdowden.com

The United Kingdom has taken a significant step towards strengthening its resilience and preparedness for potential risks by unveiling the National Risk Register (NRR).

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden announced the launch of the register, which outlines 89 threats that could have a significant impact on the nation's safety, security, or critical systems. The latest version of the NRR, which is more transparent than ever before, has been made available to the public, sharing previously classified information about various potential risks.

Among the risks highlighted in the 2023 Register are disruptions to energy supplies, malicious use of drones and threats to undersea transatlantic telecommunications cables. Notably, the threat to global energy supplies, particularly in light of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, is one of the newly listed risks.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden chose the occasion of his visit to the Able Seaton Port in Hartlepool to launch the National Risk Register. The port is currently hosting the installation of the world's largest future offshore wind farm, known as the Dogger Bank wind farm.

This monumental project, led by energy firm SSE in partnership with Equinor and Vårgrønn, is set to play a crucial role in enhancing the UK's energy independence and resilience.

The Dogger Bank wind farm will comprise over 200 towering 260-metre tall wind turbines that will provide secure, low-cost and clean energy to power up to six million homes in the UK. The turbines are constructed using British steel manufactured in Wales and processed in Corby and Hartlepool, showcasing the country's commitment to utilising domestic resources.

The newly launched National Risk Register demonstrates the government's whole-of-society approach to national resilience, as outlined in the recently published UK Government Resilience Framework and National Cyber Strategy. The government urges businesses, local governments and voluntary groups to actively participate in planning for and mitigating the identified risks.

For the first time, the government has introduced an online digital tool to make risk details more accessible and navigable for the public. This move aligns with the government's mission to ensure that vital information reaches every corner of society to collectively prepare for and respond to potential threats effectively.

Deputy National Security Advisor, Matt Collins, emphasised the importance of comprehending the risks faced by the UK to ensure the nation's safety. He praised the comprehensive understanding provided by the NRR, covering potential scenarios, response strategies and recovery options for various risks, including terrorism, conflicts and natural disasters.

SSE CEO, Alistair Phillips-Davies, lauded the progress made at the Dogger Bank wind farm, underscoring its significance as a massive infrastructure project that paves the way for the mainstream adoption of offshore wind. He emphasised that such initiatives are essential to achieve the UK's goal of a cheaper, cleaner and more secure energy system.

The NRR has been warmly received by various organisations focused on resilience and preparedness. Resilience First, a coalition of over 600 major businesses operating across multiple sectors in the UK, welcomed the register as a vital resource for improving the country's resilience.

Rick Cudworth, the Chairman of Resilience First, encouraged organisations and resilience professionals to use the register to strengthen their own preparedness efforts.

Independent think tank The Centre for Long-Term Resilience also praised the government's commitment to enhancing preparedness in the face of increasingly volatile risks. James Ginns, Head of Risk Management Policy at the think tank, emphasised the importance of identifying and addressing chronic risks, including those related to AI and biosecurity, to further reinforce the nation's resilience.

The publication of the National Risk Register follows the government's earlier initiatives to tackle various risks, including the Biological Security Strategy to combat infectious diseases and the Resilience Framework to strengthen emergency preparedness.

With the National Risk Register now accessible to the public, the UK takes a major stride towards proactively mitigating potential threats and ensuring a secure and resilient future for its citizens and businesses.