Government should require infrastructure network and asset plans for the flood management, transport and water sectors to maximise the opportunity to improve natural capital by taking an integrated and strategic approach to maintenance and renewals. Infrastructure operators in these sectors should:
- publish regular reports on the state of environmental water quality and biodiversity on their estates or affected by their assets
- develop and fund maintenance and renewal strategies that deliver a net improvement in environmental water quality and biodiversity by altering operating and maintenance regimes and materials, incorporating new design features reflective of nature based solutions, and in some cases moving spend from the development of ‘new’ to existing assets.
Guidanceand objectives should be delivered by:
- the Department for Transport to inform National Highways’ Road Investment Strategies and Network Rail’s Control Period 8
- the Environment Agency as part of its enabling and supporting programmes included in the next Flood and Coastal Erosion Investment plan, due to start in 2027
- Ofwat working with the environmental regulators, to inform operation, maintenance and renewals activities in 2030-35.