Utility Week

Utility Week 7th March

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Page 22 of 31

UtILItY WEEK | 7th - 13th March 2014 | 23 Operation & Assets like product for agriculture, diverting waste away from landfill. The plant uses Veolia's thermal hydrolysis system (BioThelys) combined with anaerobic digestion to create renew- able electricity. If you have an asset or project you would like to see featured in this slot, please send your pictures and details of the project to: paul.newton@fav-house.com or call 01342 332085 Pipe up Gordon Rogers We need mature debate about the choices we face in the changing climate. Extreme weather has again been mak- ing headline news by threatening lives and livelihoods. It's now officially one of the wettest winters on record – one of many new weather records in recent years. Infrastructure and essential service organisations are increasingly focused on their extreme weather and climate change risks. Yorkshire Water recently published its practical climate change strategy, detailing the risks and its plans to maintain the water and waste water services it provides to five million customers. There are opportunities to minimise these risks by being more efficient and effective. For example, York- shire Water and other utilities are increasingly focused on partnerships between organisations to better address flooding by pooling resources and looking to maximise the achievable benefits. Even with the highest levels of efficiency and innovation, it will be increasingly difficult for infrastructure providers to meet society's expectation for high levels of service and resilience at low prices. We need mature national debate to consider the right balance in the levels of service society can afford, accept and maintain. To use the Cabinet Office model for effective infra- structure resilience, there is a need to move from an implicit expectation for solely resistance and reliability, to broader thinking on redundancy and response and recovery. Government has set out a framework for future resilience; we need to work out how we deliver it. Sensible debate must be founded on a good under- standing of the latest evidence. While recent surveys find increasing public acceptance that climate change is happening, a sizeable minority is yet to be convinced. Public perception is critical because it is the public that decides what level of service and resilience they are pre- pared to accept and pay for, through utility bills or taxes. Regarding recent events, it may be easy to blame the Environment Agency and a decision not to dredge, yet that decision was presumably based on assessment of the evidence and cost-benefit analysis of the options. It is harder to consider the choices society needs to make about budget constraints, urban planning and land management. While potentially unpalatable, mature debate is essential for effective long-term planning where the ultimate aim is to maintain our civil society. Gordon Rogers, climate change strategy manager, Yorkshire Water The utility's climate change strategy is available at www.yorkshirewater.com/climatechange "Government has set out a framework for future resilience; we need to work out how we deliver it" "Sensible debate must be founded on a good understanding of the latest evidence"

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