Risks in Surrey and how to prepare



The UK Government's National Risk Register aims to build a shared understanding and increase preparedness for potential risks facing the UK. Every Local Resilience Forum (LRF) must publish a local Community Risk Register, giving information about hazards that exist in the local area and describing the measures in place to reduce their impacts.

This overview summarises nine key risks in Surrey, taken from Surrey's Community Risk Register. For each of the risks listed you can read a brief overview, establish what you can do, see what is being done already and find further information and advice.

By understanding these key local hazards and the simple steps that can be taken to prepare for them, you and your community can become more resilient and be able to potentially lessen the impact of an emergency and recover more quickly.

The full Surrey Community Risk Register is available to download.


Large amounts of rainfall can lead to surface, groundwater and river flooding causing risk to life and damage to properties and the environment.

Over the coming years rising temperatures and an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events caused by climate change are likely to increase the risk of flooding in the UK. Surrey is no exception to this. 2013/14 saw large areas of the county underwater and each year too many homes are devastated by floodwater.

You can check if you home may be at risk of flooding in just a couple of minutes by vising the Gov.uk website

What you can do

What we are doing

Surrey's Local Resilience Forum partners work together to produce a flood plan for the county that identifies which areas could be affected by flood water and who is most at risk.

Prevention is key and work is ongoing across Surrey on projects to reduce the likelihood of flooding. These include large scale engineering projects such as the River Thames Scheme and also innovative support for small scale prevention such as the installation of rain-watered planters.

Further information and advice

Adverse weather

Severe weather, including storms, heatwaves, low temperatures and heavy snow, can cause significant disruptions to normal life.

We have seen from periods of severe weather in the past how our daily lives can be affected - from the very cold weather in 2018 to Storm Eunice and Franklin in 2022 and the record-breaking heatwave in the same year. The effect of climate change means we are likely to see an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events across the UK.

Some common issues include road and travel disruptions, damage and disruption to basic utilities, and damage to property. Hot and cold weather can also have a significant impact on people's health, especially of those who have pre-existing health conditions.

Understanding what you can do now to prepare and protect your household and those you care for can reduce the impact of these extreme weather events.

What you can do

  • Sign up to receive weather warnings from the Met Office.
  • For the cold winter months find out where your local warm hubs are.
  • Follow warnings and advice issued ahead of and during severe weather. Consider what you could do to prepare your home for extreme heat and cold or in the event of high winds.
  • Look out for vulnerable neighbours. You could let them know if there is severe weather approaching and that you would be happy to help if needed.

What we are doing

Surrey's Local Resilience Forum partners work together to produce plans to manage the impact of severe weather events. Weather forecasts are also monitored regularly by emergency planning teams and notifications of severe weather are shared with residents.

Healthy Surrey has great seasonal advice about how best to look after your health throughout summer and winter.

Further information and advice


Surrey is a beautiful county with many open spaces. Unfortunately, these can be at risk of wildfires, particularly in the drier months - posing a potential danger to lives, homes, businesses and wildlife.

Over recent years Surrey Fire and Rescue Service have battled numerous wildfires such as the one on Thursley Common in 2021

All too often these fires begin as a result of human behaviour – litter such as glass or even reflective crisp packets can ignite dry foliage, as can bonfires. The annual 'Burger Off' campaign seeks to deter the use of disposable BBQs which can have had a similarly devastating effect.

What you can do

  • The Surrey Fire and Rescue Service website contains further information and guidance about wildfires. Please respect our countryside and follow their advice.
  • Don't have BBQs/fires in the countryside and take all litter home.
  • Don't tackle wildfires – call 999.
  • Try to avoid having bonfires which have the potential to be a danger to people, property and wildfire.

What we are doing to help prevent wildfires

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service crews work throughout the year to minimise the chance of wildfires. They regularly visit heathland sites for familiarisation, training exercises, and wildfire patrols. They also work with Forestry Land Managers and the Ministry of Defence to prepare for emergencies and with schools to warn young people of the dangers of starting fires.

Further information and advice

Utilities outages

Disruptions to water, gas or electricity supplies and telecommunication services can cause immediate issues.

Sudden loss is likely to be caused by adverse weather or damage to the infrastructure. Loss can last a few minutes or much longer and could mean you are unable to heat your home, run essential medical equipment or have access to clean water. This can be particularly challenging if your household has young or vulnerable members.

Thinking ahead to how you would cope with a sudden loss and what would make this easier for you can make a real difference.

What you can do

  • If you have young or vulnerable people in your household sign up to Priority Services Register for each of your utility providers to receive relevant support in the case of disruption to supply.
  • Keep a physical copy of key information such as telephone numbers and insurance details. The free Surrey Local Resilience Forum In Case of Emergency template makes this easy.
  • Consider what might be helpful to have available should you suddenly lose a supply, such as bottled water or a charged battery pack to enable you to charge mobile phones.
  • If the power goes off, call Freephone 105 to report it or get information.

What we are doing

Surrey's Local Resilience Forum partners work consistently with suppliers to plan and prepare for interruptions to utility supplies. Supporting households is a vital element of this and work is ongoing with all partners to ensure that those who would be most vulnerable, such as those running vital medical equipment, would receive appropriate and timely help. In the event of a utilities failure, local authorities are responsible for working with the company who brings the supply to your door and health services to identify and provide support to vulnerable people who are directly affected.

Further information and advice

Cyber attack

Online fraud or attacks that target computer systems and networks unfortunately happen all too frequently. Several million cases of fraud and computer misuse nationwide are reported to the police every year. Both businesses and individuals can be targets of this form of attack.

Developing a few good online habits drastically reduces your chance of becoming a victim of cyber crime.

What you can do

  • Use strong passwords and be vigilant to phishing emails, text messages and phone calls. Keep all software and systems up to date – including mobile phones.
  • Review your social media privacy settings to see what other internet users can see about you. Visit the government Cyber Aware website for step-by-step instructions on keeping your devices up to date and for more online security advice.
  • Small businesses should visit Cyber Aware to get a free personalised action plan.

What we are doing

Surrey Police and Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards are working hard to educate and protect against cyber crime. Scam and Cyber Aware webinars and training courses have proved popular and free call blockers issued and fitted for eligible residents block up to 95% of nuisance calls.

Surrey's Local Resilience Forum partners actively monitor the risk of cyber attacks impacting organisations, businesses and residents and have robust plans in place to combat the risk of attacks to ensure the continuation of Surrey's vital services.

Further information and advice


Long periods of abnormally low rainfall can reduce water supplies and lead to restrictions on water use for businesses and households.

Summer 2022 saw drought combine with a heatwave in Surrey and we were all asked to be careful in our use of water, with most also under a hosepipe ban.

Changes to our climate mean these dry periods are likely to increase, so it is crucial we all play our part in being prepared.

What you can do

  • Use water efficiently – find out ways to save water from your water company. If you have a water meter this will have the added advantage of helping to save you money.
  • If you think you may need extra help from your water company sign up to the Priority Services Register.
  • Look at how to use less water in your garden. The Royal Horticultural Society has some great tips.

What we are doing

Surrey's Local Resilience Forum partners work together to respond to drought in Surrey. This includes understanding where there are vulnerable people who may need more assistance in the event of a drought. We also work with the Met Office and the Environment Agency to understand the early development of drought conditions and what actions may be needed to minimise impacts.

Further- information and advice


Surrey is a relatively low-risk county for terrorist activity, but it is still important to be alert to anyone who might want to put people in danger.

If you have seen or heard something suspicious please take the time to report it. It could be that vital piece of information that will help to stop a terrorist attack.

What you can do

  • Be alert. Trust your instincts and report anything suspicious. Call 999 in an emergency, or Surrey Police using 101 in a less urgent situation. You can also report securely online via the Counter Terrorism Policing website.
  • Download the Protect UK App to your phone and familiarise yourself with its features.
  • If you do find yourself in danger, follow the police advice to RUN. HIDE. TELL. And if needed, the hazardous substance exposure guidance to Remove Remove Remove.

What we are doing

Working with other organisations, the police protect vulnerable people from being exploited by extremists through a Home Office programme called Prevent.

Surrey's Local Resilience Forum members and partners continually prepare and practice for a range of possible terrorist scenarios.

Further information and advice


A virus or bacteria has the potential to spread quickly where there is a lack of immunity in the population. Pandemics are rare, but as we have seen recently with COVID-19, they can have devastating and wide reaching impacts.

What you can do

  • Practice good hygiene habits. Always wash your hands thoroughly and cough/sneeze into disposable tissues.
  • Increase your awareness and understanding of pandemic flu.
  • Follow national and local guidance. Consider how your own actions could impact on others around you and the health care system that may be under pressure.

What we are doing

We learned a lot from the COVID-19 pandemic. Surrey's Local Resilience Forum partners are reviewing and updating their plans to improve local processes and will include learning from the Public Inquiry as it becomes available.

Further information and advice

Animal disease

Some animal diseases may be highly contagious and pass from animal to animal, causing high fatality rates. They may also have the possibility of infecting humans.

It is important anyone looking after livestock is familiar with the symptoms of animal diseases they are legally obliged to report.

What you can do

What we are doing

Surrey's Local Resilience Forum partners work with other agencies to plan for, monitor and respond to animal disease outbreaks in Surrey.

Further information and advice

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