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How we assess risk

Officer workers collaborating at their desks

In order to understand and evaluate the risks facing the United Kingdom and its local regions, expert assessors use a range of assessment tools and resources, including historical evidence, scientific input, expert analysis and professional judgements.

National risk

The National Risk Register gives the public information on the national risks that have been identified by the Government and gives advice and guidance on how to prepare for these risks. This information is based on the National Risk Assessment, which is a confidential to protect national security. Both documents help the Government and local authorities to inform, plan and prepare for these risks.

The Government’s assessment on risk is based on a continuous cycle of learning lessons from real events, drawing on new scientific or technological evidence and improving the way risk is analysed. There are also a number of longer term trends that are likely to change the risk landscape over the coming decades, such as climate change and antimicrobial resistance.

Local risk

To understand why some risks are more or less significant in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, we look at the social, health, environmental, infrastructure and economic profile of our county. 

We then create a Community Risk Register, which highlights the risks that have the highest likelihood and potential to have significant impact to our local communities, resulting in wide scale disruption.

Each risk is graded from 1 to 5 for their impact and their likelihood, then classed as Red, Amber, Yellow or Green. 

Red risks

These risks have been rated as having high impact and high likelihood:

Amber risks

These risks are more likely to happen, but will have a lower impact:

Yellow risks

These risks are less likely to happen and/or will have a lower impact:

  • Water infrastructure failure or loss of drinking water (3 impact, 2 likelihood)
  • Aviation crash (3 impact, 1 likelihood)
  • Industrial action (firefighters) (2 impact, 5 likelihood)
  • Industrial action (public transport) (2 impact, 5 likelihood)
  • Industrial action (prison officers) (2 impact, 4 likelihood)
  • Accidental release of biological substance (2 impact, 4 likelihood)
  • Major social care provider failure (2 impact, 4 likelihood)
  • Technological failure at a retail bank (2 impact, 3 likelihood)
  • Railway accident (2 impact, 3 likelihood)
  • Major outbreak of animal disease (2 impact, 3 likelihood)
  • Surface water flooding (2 impact, 3 likelihood)
  • Poor air quality (2 impact, 3 likelihood)
  • Storms (2 impact, 3 likelihood)
  • Major fire (2 impact, 2 likelihood)
  • Large toxic chemical release (2 impact, 2 likelihood)
  • Accident involving high consequence dangerous goods (2 impact, 2 likelihood)
  • Gas supply failure (2 impact, 2 likelihood)
  • Food supply contamination (2 impact, 2 likelihood)
  • Building collapse (2 impact, 2 likelihood)
  • Industrial action (fuel supply) (2 impact, 2 likelihood)
  • Reservoir/ dam collapse (2 impact, 2 likelihood)
  • Coastal flooding (2 impact, 2 likelihood)

Green risks

These risks are considered to have a low impact and/or likelihood:

  • Explosion at a high pressure gas pipeline (2 impact, 1 likelihood)
  • Bridge closure or building collapse (2 impact, 1 likelihood)
  • Accidental release of biological pathogen (2 impact, 1 likelihood)
  • Small scale highly disruptive demonstration (1 impact, 5 likelihood)
  • Heatwave (1 impact, 4 likelihood)
  • Low temperatures and heavy snow (1 impact, 4 likelihood)
  • Influx of British nationals (1 impact, 4 likelihood)
  • Influx of foreign nationals (1 impact, 4 likelihood)
  • Radiation exposure from stolen goods (1 impact, 1 likelihood)
  • Insolvency affecting fuel supply (1 impact, 1 likelihood)
  • Earthquake (UK) (1 impact, 1 likelihood) 

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