Government agency Action 2000 is concerned that public alarm about a Year 2000 disaster could bring about a supply chain crisis.
Gwynneth Flower, managing director of Action 2000, was speaking yesterday in a global, online Internet conference hosted by Ed Yardeni, chief economist of Deutsche Bank and Year 2000 campaigner. He has predicted dire consequences for the global economy if the public and private sectors do not act faster.
"We want people to behave normally. We don't want them stockpiling or believing alarmist stories. If people act in an alarmist way the supply chain could be impacted enormously. That is when it could become more than a bug problem," said Flower.
She added that Action 2000 would follow up its recent billboard campaign with a prime time television advert later this month, to raise awareness among the general public about the importance of solving the millennium bug.
But she noted that only one in four UK businesses are currently on track to achieve compliance and she did not know of any company that had already completed its Y2K project. Action 2000 was working to set up regional emergency contingency plans but she was confident the infrastructure would be ready in time.
"Air traffic control is getting there in the UK but is a very real worry eastwards, except for Holland. Our National Grid is a good defence mechanism - even if we shut down one or two power stations we can probably maintain power, especially during a holiday period," she said.
Yardeni noted that there were real concerns about global air traffic connectivity given the major problems Russia was having in ensuring its control systems were compliant, cutting off routes to Japan and other parts of Asia.
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