BT uses climate risk analytics to protect critical infrastructure

Climate risk analytics protect critical infrastructure such as this BT telecommunications mast in the Lake District, UK

Project facts

  • Client
  • Location
  • Challenge
    Protecting critical telecommunications infrastructure from flood risk.
  • Solution
    Twinn FloodScore Climate data helped BT understand and quantify its assets’ exposure to a range of flood risks.
  • Impact
    BT can now plan more effectively to future-proof its infrastructure because it has an accurate view of flood risk under a range of future climate scenarios.
As the UK’s leading provider of fixed and mobile telecommunications, BT has an immense responsibility to make sure its networks are resilient so homes, businesses and public services maintain the connectivity that’s integral to daily life.

Needless to say, BT takes this responsibility extremely seriously. But understanding risks to infrastructure is no mean feat, especially when it comes to climate risks like flooding.

The challenge

Protecting critical infrastructure from flood risk

Justine Webster spearheads climate risk analysis at BT Group. “We’d been trying to build a comprehensive profile of flood risk to our assets, so we could better protect our networks and increase our resilience,” she explained. “We’d been exploring the UKCP18 data alongside historic flood data and information from the CEDA archive. But if you’re not a climate scientist, it’s challenging to make sense of everything. We knew we didn’t have a complete picture, and it was hard to understand what the data meant in the context of our assets.”

BT knew it needed a more comprehensive view of flood risk, with the ability to translate data into quantifiable risk profiles for sites.

“We explored the market and saw that Twinn’s FloodScore Climate data ticked all the boxes,” said Justine.

The solution

Understanding and quantifying flood risk exposure – now and for future climate scenarios

Twinn Climate Risk Analytics (formerly under the Ambiental brand) has a long-established track record in climate resilience, vulnerability and risk assessment solutions, including launching the first UK climate change model, FloodFutures, in 2017. Twinn provides comprehensive coastal, fluvial and pluvial flood risk data, with the ability to map against specific postcodes and addresses. This made it perfect for BT’s needs.

“The data enhanced what we had from the UKCP and CEDA, and we could overlay it against our assets,” Justine explained. “When combined with our internal current and historic data, it gives us a precise view of all flood risks for different epochs and Representation Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios. The data is simple to use, and Twinn has been a great partner, explaining anything we needed to know.”

The impact

Informed planning to future-proof infrastructure

Twinn’s precise and comprehensive data added new dimensions to BT’s climate risk planning.

“We’d never seen pluvial flood risk before, and having this alongside coastal and fluvial data gives you a new view,” explained Justine. “We identified sites we’d never known had flood risk, and we got a better understanding of the nature and severity of flooding that could occur.”

Importantly, BT also gained a better understanding of the financial implications of flood risk. “Our experience in the financial services industry has added new layers to BT’s risk analysis approach,” said Rob Carling, Channel Sales Manager at Twinn. “Financial services use Average Annual Loss (AAL) to quantify and manage the financial impact on assets, and BT were really interested in this.”

“We hadn’t used AAL before, and it has been really valuable,” added Justine. “We get the internal restoration costs for each site. We now have a financial impact assessment as well as an operational impact assessment for each asset, based on flood risk.”

BT can now plan more effectively because it has an accurate view of flood risk under a range of future climate scenarios. “We can deep dive into mitigation opportunities now and for the future because we can see which sites are protected and where we need to invest to make the network more resilient. This partnership is helping us future-proof our infrastructure and maintain our position as the UK’s leading network provider that customers can trust.”
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