Extreme weather is when a weather event is significantly different from the average or usual weather pattern. These events are becoming more frequent and more extreme as global temperatures rise. Recent events, such as the storms, high temperatures and droughts experienced in 2022, have highlighted the challenges that the UK faces.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to strengthen national resilience to prepare for emergencies that may affect the UK. The government defines resilience as the ability to withstand or quickly recover from these events, but also to get ahead of those risks and tackle challenges before they manifest.

The NAO will be undertaking a programme of work examining how effectively the country is being protected from catastrophic events, and people are being protected from unaffordable bills. Our first report in this series will be on extreme weather events.


This report will examine how well the UK is prepared for future extreme weather events. It will consider:

• the arrangements the UK government has in place to manage national risks, such as extreme weather events;

• the UK government’s understanding of extreme weather events and the impacts that they can have; and

• the action that the UK government has taken to prepare for extreme weather events, respond to them and reduce their potential impacts.

The report will draw on four extreme weather event case studies (droughts, heatwaves, surface water flooding and storms).

NAO Team details

Director: Sian Jones
Audit Manager: Leon Bardot