Environment Agency adds millions to deal for new national flood risk platform

Spending on the National Flood Risk Assessment 2 system could rise to £14.5m as a result of inflation clauses and the addition of new data tools, according to commercial information

The Environment Agency has significantly increased spending on the multimillion-pound deal to create a new IT system to monitor the risk of flooding across the country.

Work on the second iteration of the National Flood Risk Assessment (NaFRA) platform began four years ago. The tool will replace an incumbent system that has been in place since 2002.

The agency, which operates as an arm’s-length body of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is working to create NaFRA 2 with engineering and tech firm Jacobs, which was awarded an initial four-and-a-half-year contract in April 2020.

The worth of that deal was pegged at a little over £8.5m. But, in a newly published procurement notice, the EA revealed that as much as £14.5m will now be spent via the engagement. The extra spending will support the inclusion of extra data tools to support the flood-risk system, as well as covering increased costs as a result of inflation.

“The Environment Agency has placed a number of contract changes under the contract, to an additional value of £4,450,000, including the addition of flood risk data products and a sizeable increase to the charges – primarily due to inflationary clauses that were included in the original contract documents,” the notice said.

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The newly raised spending ceiling also factors in three possible one-year extensions, which could take the end date of the agreement to October 2027.

Once the platform is up and running, it will provide government with an upgraded and effective means of tracking the risk of flooding throughout England.

The National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England (2011) states that the Environment Agency will develop and maintain national information on current and future risks arising from all sources of flooding and coastal erosion,” the notice said. “The Environment Agency’s flood risk information underpins decision making in all parts of the business.”

It added: “We presently have a National Flood Risk Assessment tool that was created in 2002. After a review of requirements and aspirations for our approach to flood risk assessment, we have a strategic vision for a National Flood Risk Assessment 2 system to deliver a single, scalable assessment of flood risk that is available, trusted and used.”

Alongside the new risk tool, the EA also recently signed a potential £30m deal for the creation of a new digital flood warning system to replace an existing 20-year-old platform.

Sam Trendall

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