British Water reception highlights supply chain resilience

The importance of supply chain resilience in the water sector was the key message from Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Chair of the Climate Change Committee’s Adaptation Committee, at a reception hosted by British Water in the House of Lords this week. The reception, now in its 15th year, was hosted by Brown.

“It’s really crucial that everyone in the water industry looks at the resilience of their supply chain. It’s not just your own resilience, it’s the people you depend on – the suppliers you depend on” , she said.

Around 180 guests attended the event and included member companies, sponsor partners and key industry figures. The event is organized to help raise the profile of the UK water industry, the supply chain that British Water represents and the challenges facing the sector.

Brown went on to explain that supply chain resilience played a key role in advising the Adaptation Committee to Defra in 2021 on what should be the focus of the next climate risk assessment. climate change and the UK national adaptation plan. The committee identified eight key areas for Defra to consider across the UK’s climate change preparedness, two of which were supply chain resilience and infrastructure interdependencies.

The keynote speaker, the Honorable Philip Dunne MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, outlined what remains to be done to protect the environment and provide for future generations. He spoke of the important role the water sector plays in protecting and restoring vital ecosystems and acknowledged the ongoing work across the sector to address fats, oils and greases (FOG ) and microplastics, and to reduce wastewater discharges into the environment.

“Fixing sewage pollution is important not just for us as humans – it’s important for the whole ecosystem that we are responsible for,” he said. “What is very clear is that combined sewer outfalls are being used more frequently because the system is overloaded and unable to cope with the increasing pressures of housing construction, heavier rainfall and what is dumped in our sewers.”

He added: “Although there have been significant global investments in our underground drainage systems since privatization, I am also very aware that there is no quick fix to try to solve these problems and that investments must be accelerated”.

At the start of the event, it was announced that Christopher Loughlin, chairman of British Water, would step down later this year after six years in the role. British Water chief executive Lila Thompson praised Loughlin for her “wisdom, integrity, professionalism and amazing understanding of corporate governance”.

Loughlin chaired the board throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and oversaw British Water’s merger with the Water Industry Forum earlier this year.

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