NASA observatory spots flurry of solar flares

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Boris Johnson’s former chief advisor has warned that the Government’s plan on dealing with solar flares is “completely hopeless”. A major solar flare is a matter of when, not if, with the power of the Sun able to knock-out satellite technology.

Extreme solar flares also pose a risk to the National Grid.

Conducting rocks can carry the energy into the ground, which can overload the National Grid and cause UK-wide power outages.

Mr Cummings today bemoaned the lack of preparation from the Government, claiming it has no culture of speaking to outside experts.

Although solar flares were put on the National Risk Assessment in 2011, there is still little being done to prepare, Mr Cummings told the Science and Technology, and Health and Social Care Committees, in a hearing today.

He said: “There is not a culture of talking to outside experts. I’ll give you a recent example, I was talking to some people who said to me ‘did you ever go and read the plan on solar flares?’

“I said no, and they said if you get some expert advice on that you’ll see the current government plan on that is just completely hopeless.

“If that happens we’re all going to be in a worse situation than Covid.

“There ought to be an absolutely thorough, total review of all risk register programmes.”

Experts agreed with Mr Cummings’ sentiment.

Henry Dodds, CEO of risk consulting firm Drayton Tyler told Express.co.uk: “Dominic Cummings is completely correct to highlight that the UK’s plans for severe space weather aren’t good enough.

“I really hope that the five-year space weather strategy being produced later this year by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy isn’t just a plan for a plan but is actionable and robust with clear responsibilities in government.

“Severe space weather is a ‘when not if’ event with warning times of days rather than weeks, it’s not something you can muddle your way through.

“Cummings said that if it happens, we’re all going to be in a worse situation than Covid and I think he’s right.”

Previous studies have revealed that the Sun releases an extreme solar flare every 25 years on average, with the last Earth-hitting one coming in 1989.

This storm saw power outages in Quebec, Canada, as conducting rocks on Earth can carry the excess energy from the magnetic shield and plough it into the national grid.

On top of that, an intense solar storm can down satellite systems, as the bombardment of solar particles can expand Earth’s magnetosphere, making it harder for satellite signals to penetrate.

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