Britain Vulnerable to Global Disaster Due to Overreliance on Food Imports – Expert

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The United Kingdom’s need to import food from abroad could prove extremely detrimental in the event of global disaster.

Britain’s reliance on foreign powers for its supply of food would be significantly to its detriment in the event of global disaster, one expert has claimed.

The island’s physical proximity to the European continent is also reportedly a significant risk factor, especially compared to more remote islands which have a greater focus on self-sufficiency, such as Australia, he said.

In a talk given to the Cambridge Conference on Catastrophic Risk, public health expert Professor Nick Wilson said that Britain could be in a difficult position should a major disaster occur compared to the likes of other European islands, such as Iceland and Ireland.

While Professor Wilson partly puts this down to the physical proximity of Britain to the European mainland — a factor which would come into play in the event of a nuclear or volcanic winter — he also emphasised a number of policy measures which puts Britain at risk.

According to the expert, what makes islands able to survive such massive disaster events is their ability to be agriculturally and technologically self-sufficient, being able to feed its people using domestic agriculture and marine resources, as well as produce the likes of medicines using its domestic industry.


More generally, the expert also noted that Britain “doesn’t seem to think of itself much as an island”, which he seems to believe has affected its disaster response in a negative way when compared to the likes of New Zealand and other, more isolated countries.

Britain “didn’t seem to take any serious measures to keep out COVID”, Wilson said, referring to the country having left itself wide open to international travel in 2020 despite the pandemic conditions, and having had the ability to leverage the advantages of being an island.

Professor Wilson’s analysis that Britain would face problems in the event of another serious worldwide disaster appears to be in line with previous warnings that the UK is completely unprepared to deal with scenarios of extreme emergency.

A parliamentary report into the UK’s risk management published late last year found that the country’s emergency response capability was “deficient and too inflexible”, with the “top heavy” plans in place for emergencies insufficiently capable of properly facilitating the flow of information.

“The Government’s risk management system defaults to a secretive and centralised approach that withholds safety critical information from those who need it — shielding it from full scrutiny and challenge,” claimed the politician in charge of the report.

“The Government must open up the risk management system and welcome expert consultation from a wider variety of sources, as well as see our people as an essential building block,” he continued.

Dominic Cummings, a former major ally of UK Prime Minister Boris Johsnon, has also previously lambasted Britain’s ability to deal with any sort of major disaster, noting how he was told by one senior official that the UK was “absolutely fucked” early on in the COVID pandemic due to the inadequacies of emergency plans.

“I thought many of the plans seemed, to me, to fall very fall short of what was actually needed,” Cummings said last year regarding the nation’s preparedness for other emergency scenarios. “A lot of things are just powerpoints, and they lack detail.”

“This country spends tens of billions of pounds on national security, but we don’t spend anything nearly like the right amount of money or engage the right kind of people who should be involved,” he also said.

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