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Plan for National Underground Asset Register goes to consultation

08/04/22

Mark Say Managing Editor

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Underground map abstract
Image source: istock.com/A-R-T-U-R

The Geospatial Commission has opened a public consultation on the future operating model of the National Underground Asset Register (NUAR).

This follows the beginning of work on the register – a national digital map of underground pipes and cables – with build phases beginning in Wales, London and the North-East.

The consultation is split into three sections on current practice, the need for and potential scope of legislation, and the Geospatial Commission’s current thinking on future funding, and comprises nine questions.

The commission has particularly encouraged local authorities, utility companies, trade associations, professional bodies and other organisations operating in a range of sub-sectors to take part.

Information for projects

Its foreword to the consultation says: “Every construction and infrastructure project has to source information on underground assets (i.e. cables, pipes, sewers and ducts) when preparing ground investigation and excavation work. A significant number of organisations have to be contacted for information on their assets, and this is provided in varied formats, scales, quality, and on different timelines.

“With all these assets and different companies involved, working beneath the ground is both complex and time consuming.”

It adds: “NUAR not only provides benefits to asset owners and those that dig up the streets, but also provides opportunities to the wider market. Delivering this project is a key priority for the Government.” 

The NUAR will be rolled out under a three-year programme covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland already has the VAULT system to provide a similar function.

The consultation is open until 2 June.

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