The Space Environment Impacts Expert Group (SEIEG) was set up in the autumn of 2010 following a review of natural hazards by the UK Cabinet Office. That review was stimulated by the widespread national and international disruption caused by ash clouds from the volcanic eruption at Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland in April 2010. The review asked whether were there other natural hazards for which there is credible scientific evidence of potential to cause severe societal and economic disruption? This quickly identified space weather as one such a hazard and initiated the development of a set of “reasonable worst-case scenarios” that Government could use to explore socio-economic impacts of space weather. Following a series of meetings across the summer of 2010, a meeting of UK space weather experts was convened at British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge on 28 and 29 October 2010 under the chairmanship of the late Alan Rodger. That meeting identified the need to set up an independent expert group to facilitate this work, and coined the SEIEG name.
The group quickly set to work, providing advice and support to officials in the Government departments and agencies (Cabinet Office, Government Office for Science, Met Office) that were then working to include space weather in the UK National Risk Assessment. As result severe space weather was first added to the National Risk Register early in 2012 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-risk-register-for-civil-emergencies-2012-update), whilst SEIEG published its first public report on space weather risk scenarios later that year (https://doi.org/10.5286/raltr.2012022). The latter publication was timed so as to support the publication of the Royal Academy of Engineering report on impacts of extreme space weather early in 2013 (https://raeng.org.uk/publications/reports/space-weather-full-report).
Following those publications, particularly the National Risk Register, government interest in space weather expanded to include work to improve UK resilience to severe space weather, as well as work to refine our understanding of space weather and its practical impacts. SEIEG continued to provide advice and support to government officials working on these issues, e.g., through work to raise awareness of space weather, and support for exercises to explore UK resilience to space weather. An important example of this was the involvement of many SEIEG members in the Space Weather Public Dialogue (https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ukgwa/20170110133000/http:/www.sciencewise-erc.org.uk/cms/space-weather-dialogue) which took place across the summer and autumn of 2014. This Dialogue was a series of activities funded by the Sciencewise programme that helped policy makers, such as Cabinet Office, to explore the public reaction to the risks posed by space weather, and how to encourage positive public engagement with this issue.
In 2015, Cabinet Office relinquished its role of as Government lead department for space weather, and that role was taken on by the then Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which later became part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). BEIS continues to hold this role as lead department and has been active in promoting UK understanding of, and resilience to, severe space weather, working closely with Met Office and GO Science. SEIEG has continued to provide independent advice and support when needed. In particular, the SEIEG report on space weather risk scenarios has been updated several times as our understanding of the risks has evolved, for example in response to new peer-reviewed scientific results. Updates were published in 2016 (https://doi.org/10.5286/raltr.2016006), 2020 (https://epubs.stfc.ac.uk/work/46642513), and 2022 (https://doi.org/10.5286/raltr.2022001), and a detailed review (https://doi.org/10.1029/2020SW002593), of this work was published in Space Weather journal in 2021. SEIEG has also exchanged ideas with scientific groups in other countries, e.g., providing comments to our US colleagues on their development of Space Weather benchmarks.