Publication of the UK’s first National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA)

Tuesday’s publication of the UK’s first National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA) reveals demanding recommendations for the Government in relation to flood risk management and water resources along with other key economic infrastructure sectors (digital, energy, transport and waste).

The recommendation for a national strategy that leads to specific standards of resilience across the whole of the country would be a new direction for flood risk management. The NIA suggests higher standards in large urban areas and a move away from the current cost-benefit approach to prioritising schemes for investment. The NIA’s view is that the current approach ‘is not a sustainable basis for decision-making’ as properties at risk are ‘seldom abandoned or adapted to cope with the risk, so people are left to live with the risk’.

Also calling for a focus on flood risk management at the catchment and coastal cell scale, the NIA asks for all new development to be resilient to flooding with an annual probability of 0.5%. The NIA advises that water companies and local authorities should work together in developing surface water management plans recognising the multiplicity of responsibilities and agencies involved in managing this source of risk.

These recommendations are a timely challenge to the flood and coastal erosion risk management (FCERM) community and are likely to be debated within the ongoing development of the new national FCERM strategy due to be published in 2019. With this publication, the Government’s response to the NIA, and the Defra policy statement on flooding and coastal erosion all to be issued later this year, it’s a busy and exciting time for FCERM policy development.

JBA, working with Sayers and Partners, produced the model that informed the NIA’s assessment of investment required to meet specific standards of protection at different geographical scales, and is developing the evidence base for the FCERM strategy. Working with stakeholders at all levels from Government departments to community groups, our Policy, Strategy and Research team is looking forward to embracing the challenges and opportunities that the changing and developing policy environment provides.

Want to know more?

Email Rachel Brisley for more information on the above or visit our flood and water management web pages.

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