A new digital map of underground pipes and cables is on track to grow the economy

A new digital map of underground pipes and cables is on track to grow the economy

The emerging digital map of power cables, broadband, gas and water pipes and other underground infrastructure is now available across England and Wales in boosting economic growth and public services for people across the country.

The National Underground Assets Register (NUAR) will revolutionize the way we install, maintain, operate and repair the pipes and cables buried beneath our feet, growing our economy and minimizing disruption to the public. Coverage has expanded to include the South East, South West, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber and the East of England.

NUAR includes data from all major energy and water providers, such as Welsh Water, Cadent Gas, UK Power Networks and several major telecoms companies, including CityFibre and Virgin Media O2, as well as smaller providers, transport organizations and local enterprises. authorities. It is estimated to deliver £490 million per year (about £5 billion over a decade) of economic growth through increased efficiency in construction and development, reduced accidental damage to pipes and cables, and reduced disruption to the public and businesses (from extended road closures and congestion) , as well as improving worker safety.

Viscount Camrose, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Technology, said:

“The National Underground Assets Register is on track to transform the way the UK manages underground pipes and cables. Thanks to the Government working closely with industry, workers across England and Wales now have data, at their fingertips, about underground infrastructure Our feet.

The Register is a prime example of the Geospatial Commission and wider government driving innovation that will deliver improved public services, create new better-paid jobs and grow the economy, and I am pleased that progress is being made on legislative updates to support this.

Measures have also been put forward in Parliament to update current legislation, and take advantage of the opportunities provided by data and technological advances, to simplify and speed up the process through which this type of asset data is shared.

These updates will ensure that workers have current, comprehensive, and consolidated data when they need it. This will reduce the time it takes workers to get all the site data they need to safely dig from six days to 60 seconds – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The required legislative reforms would also ensure sustainable service delivery by charging fair and reasonable fees to asset owners.

The Geospatial Committee has also published a project update, including sharing information on the Discovery Project, supported by the Government Office for Technology Transfer, to explore the potential for increased economic growth that can be achieved by expanding access to critical national assets, including broader market opportunities. This could include, for example, supporting the launch of electric vehicle charging points, flood risk planning, emergency response or transport.

Alexandra Notai, Independent Commissioner of the Geospatial Commission, said:

“It is great to see the progress being made in delivering the essential ‘safe drilling’ use case that NUAR aims to meet, and I am very proud of the Geospatial Commission team to deliver this collaborative project to and with a wide range of industry stakeholders. Supporting data is from The users in the project update serve as a testament to the value that NUAR already provides to those who manage our underground assets.

“However, I am particularly excited to see work starting to explore the potential benefits that NUAR can bring to other users, particularly in the real estate sector. I believe NUAR can enable a tremendous amount of innovation in construction, development and operations across the real estate spectrum – supporting decision-making Better more quickly.


It is estimated that there are around 4 million kilometers of buried pipes and cables in the UK, and a hole is dug every 7 seconds to install, repair, maintain or repair these assets that are critical to keeping water, gas, electricity and our businesses flowing. Communication lines are connected. Nearly 1 in 65 holes drilled results in an accidental asset strike (around 60,000 per year), causing an economic cost of around £2.4 billion, putting workers’ lives at risk and disrupting our daily lives.

There are more than 700 asset owners in the public and private sectors (including energy, water and telecommunications companies) who hold data about their private assets, which they are required by law to share for “safe drilling” purposes. However, there is currently no standardized way to do this as many organizations must be contacted for each excavation, providing information in diverse formats, scales and quality and on different timescales resulting in a complex process of installing, maintaining, operating and repairing buried assets. .

NUAR is a government-led program to create a single, comprehensive platform for sharing data on the location and condition of underground assets. The primary purpose of NUAR is to simplify the data sharing process, reduce the risk of potentially fatal strikes to utility assets and promote more efficient management and maintenance of underground assets.

NUAR will improve efficiency in construction and development, reduce disruption to the public and businesses (from extended road closures and congestion), improve worker safety and is estimated to deliver economic growth worth £490 million per year through increased efficiency, reduced asset strikes and reduced disruption to citizens and businesses.

NUAR will support the government’s priority of achieving economic growth; Accelerating projects such as new roads, new homes, broadband deployment and fully integrated organizations can now use NUAR in their geographic business area.

The MVP provides users in England and Wales with access to the emerging platform. In line with the Government Service Standard, the Geospatial Commission is committed to frequent delivery where users are placed at the center of product and service design, and are given access to core functionality early and often to help ensure that the service best meets users’ needs and expectations. . NUAR will be improved iteratively until it is fully operational, including service features, as well as completeness of data, coverage, currency and user base.

MVP coverage will be expanded to include Northern Ireland by spring 2024 and the platform will be fully operational across the three countries by the end of 2025. Scotland already benefits from a system of this type (Scottish Community Apparatus Data Vault). Scottish Government officials have helped develop NUAR, ensuring consistency across the two services.

(tags for translation) Pipelines

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