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Build begins on digital map of underground assets

08/09/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Cabinet Office has waved the flag for the beginning of the build phase of the National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) – the national digital map of underground pipes and cables.

Abstract of underground map

The Geospatial Commission is working with the Welsh Government, Tees Valley Combined Authority and Greater London Authority on the early stages, which will focus on Wales, the North-East and London.

It has appointed design, engineering and project management consultancy Atkins to deliver the build phase, which consists of developing a minimal viable product for the three regions then rolling it out to the rest of England and Northern Ireland.

Cabinet Office Minister Lord True formally launched the phase at a site in Darlington with Mayor of Tees Valley Ben Houchen.

The Cabinet Office said the NUAR will support the more efficient delivery of critical local services such as gas, water, electricity and telecommunications. It is expected to reduce the economic cost of accidental damage to underground pipes and cables – estimated at £2.4 billion per year – by providing accurate information on their location.

Heart of strategy

Nigel Clifford, deputy chair of the Geospatial Commission, said: “Unlocking value from geospatial data is the heart of the UK’s Geospatial Strategy. Our National Underground Asset Register will be a momentous step towards providing the UK with a shared national data asset of significant value.

“I am proud of the collaboration with industry that we have so far established as part of our preparatory work and look forward to it continuing.”

The Geospatial Commission is also planning to work with the Scottish Government on future developments.

Image from iStock, A-R-T-U-R

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