EA capital investment reboot to be both greener and more efficient

Words provided by Environment Analyst

The Environment Agency’s £2.6bn new capital investment programme "aims to better protect 300,000 homes from coastal erosion and flooding up to 2021 and beyond", based on new ways of working, longer partnerships and sustainable development, it says.

EA announced a set of new supplier arrangements and partnerships on 17 April aimed at increasing efficiency, value for money and creating a green legacy. The EA’s Next Generation Supplier Arrangements (NGSA), coming into effect as of April, "will form the basis of new ways of working which will help better protect people and the environment whilst ensuring that sustainable development is at the core of Environment Agency projects", it says.

The new NGSA arrangements, taking effect immediately and running through to 2023 with the opportunity to extend to 2027, build on the EA’s long experience in the flood and coastal risk management sector and draw on learning of other leading infrastructure providers in the public and private sectors.

They will "promote innovative ways of collaborative working with delivery partners and local communities from the initial planning stages of a project right through to its completion", and lead to closer, longer term working and partnerships, including with local organisations and communities, ultimately leading to "the best possible flood and coastal management for the challenges facing their area".

At the same time, it says "flood and coastal defence projects will promote economic growth, social wellbeing and will seek to enhance levels of natural capital within the local community, making sure that each scheme brings long-lasting benefits for future generations".

Under the EA’s Collaborative Delivery Framework, delivery partnerships are arranged around each geographical hub of the agency. The definitive list of new consultants (Lot 1) and contractors (Lot 2) supplying each hub is as follows:

-     North East Hub: Over Arup & Partners Ltd (Lot 1), BAM  Nuttall Ltd

-     North West Hub: Jacobs UK Ltd (Lot 1), VolkerStevin (Lot 2)

-     Midlands Hub: Over Arup & Partners Ltd (Lot 1), Jackson Civil Engineering Group Ltd (Lot 2)

-     Eastern Hub: Jacobs UK Ltd (Lot 1), BAM Nuttall Ltd (Lot 2)

-     South West Hub: Atkins Ltd (Lot 1), Kier Integrated Services Ltd (Lot 2)

-     South East Hub: Jeremy Benn Associates Ltd (Lot 1), VolkerStevin Ltd (Lot 2)

The EA’s new approach will be informed by its new economic assessment launched in February aimed at aiding planning for flooding and coastal risk management for the next 50 years. The study, based on new climate change, population and mapping data, provides the basis for future scenarios, and assessments of how best to allocate spending to meet these challenges. Its long-term investment scenarios estimate "an average annual investment of £1bn will be necessary up to 2065", and that the overall benefit to cost ratio is 9 to 1.

Toby Willison, Executive Director of Operations at the Environment Agency, said: "This ambitious new framework will help us to continue to deliver our £2.6bn flood and coastal defence programme in a way which ensures that sustainability, efficiency and value for money remain at the very heart of the work we do to protect people, homes and the environment."

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