What risks is the UK vulnerable to and how do we expand the boundaries of possibility?


The House of Lords Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee will tomorrow (Wednesday 26 May) question two panels of witnesses, including fiction writers, on the UK’s preparedness for national risks.

At 10.15am the committee will hear from the National Preparedness Commission on the position of the UK’s resilience and its vulnerability to future risk.

Giving evidence will be:

Professor Brian Collins, Vice Chair, National Preparedness Commission

Lord Toby Harris, Chair, National Preparedness Commission

Questions the Committee is likely to ask include:

Are there risks which the UK is particularly vulnerable to and what is your assessment of the reasons for these vulnerabilities?

What is your assessment of the UK’s current approach to risk assessment and planning? Do you feel the UK is a resilient country?

How can we continue to press the issue of resilience, particularly as the urgency of the current pandemic fades?

At 11.15am the committee will hear from Speculative Fiction Writers on imagining unprecedented and unforeseen risks.

Giving evidence will be:

Peter F. Hamilton, Author

Robert Harris, Author

Adrian Tchaikovsky, Author

Questions the Committee is likely to ask include:

Is our society sufficiently imaginative to identify and prepare for ‘out-of-left-field’ surprises?

What do you do to find ideas for disaster scenarios? To what extent do you draw on real or historical threats?

Do fiction writers feel compelled to responsibly guide society’s imagination of the future?

What is the worst thing you’ve had happen in your books, and what would it take for that to happen in real life?

The session will take place virtually and can be followed on Parliament TV.

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