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Next Phase of Underground Pipes and Cables Launched
- September 17, 2021

The National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) is a new digital map which will help revolutionise construction and development throughout the country.

The UK Government has launched the next phase in the building of a digital map of underground cables, as the UK moves one step closer to revolutionising construction and development in the country.

The NUAR is set to enter the Build Phase of the project, and Cabinet Office Minister Lord True CBE along with Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, visited industry representatives and asset owners in Darlington for the launch to discuss the current challenges the NUAR will help to address.

Lord True said: “I am delighted to launch the build phase of the UK’s new National Underground Asset Register. This new digital map of the UK’s underground utilities assets demonstrates our commitment to putting innovation at the forefront of the UK’s economic recovery and ambition to build back better.”

Over four million holes are dug in the UK each year, with many of them in the wrong place. The economic cost of accidental utility damage is around £2.4 billion each year. Unforeseen ground conditions are a major obstacle to all construction and housing projects, especially on previously developed land. The new digital map of underground pipes and cables will help improve efficiencies in construction and development, reduce disruption and improve workers’ safety.

NUAR forms part of the Government’s efforts to build back better and greener, with tangible benefits, and speed up the delivery of housing and infrastructure projects from design to build.

The digital map will be built via a partnership between industry and Government in the next three years, and will start with the North East of England, Wales and London. The new platform will also enable critical and local services, like gas, water, electricity and telecommunications.

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.”

Ben Houchen, Mayor of Tees Valley, said: “I am absolutely delighted that this innovative new map of what lies beneath our feet is being launched and rolled out in Teesside. This new service will mean less mistakes are made when digging holes and less disruption to local people. Across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool we’re making huge strides; we are transforming northern Europe’s biggest brownfield at Teesworks creating thousands of jobs and transforming our economy to a greener future, and this new map will be incredibly helpful.”

If you have any questions about the project, and in particular if you are an owner or operator of buried assets, please get in touch via geospatialcommission@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.

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