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CIRIA - championing the Environment

CIRIA welcomes the UK Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, and we are pleased that our work has contributed towards many of the goals identified in the Plan. CIRIA has a long history of championing environmental issues and our collaborative research projects will continue to deliver towards the ambitious aims of the plan. 

Our work in the environment and flood risk management sectors speaks for itself and we continue to support investment and delivery in this important area. CIRIA’s early recognition that sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) could make a significant contribution to surface water management and the wider built environment has placed us at the forefront of work in this sector. CIRIA was providing the construction industry with SuDS guidance and training, long before the Pitt Review of 2007. Our site guide for environmental good practice and associated IEMA approved training has been helping industry since 2006 whilst some our ground breaking suite of contaminated land reports, working with wildlife guidance and work within biodiversity improvement through the BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards continue to benefit the industry. More recently our work on delivering green infrastructure along linear assets will continue to focus the construction industry on environmental issues. 

The government plan also sets out a number of ambitious goals that focus on protecting and restoring the natural environment; delivering cleaner air and water; protecting endangered species and providing richer habitats for wildlife, thus delivering net gain as well as growing a resilient network of land, water and sea. All this will be achieved through development of a “natural environment recovery network” which has a holistic vision of connected green and blue landscapes at catchment scale. Encouragingly it incorporates a clearer understanding of the multiple benefits this approach can bring.

Commenting on the plan Suzanne Simmons, CIRIA Project Manager said: “We were pleased to see the government’s immediate commitment to reviewing and updating standard for green Infrastructure, added support for local authorities, as well as arrangements for improving SuDS planning policy that will encourage both water quality and biodiversity. The plan strategically seeks  to embed SuDS more strongly in the NPPF when it is reviewed, with the aim of facilitating collaboration between LLFAs, statutory organisations and Water and Sewage companies encouraged to improve outcomes for  surface water management overall.”

Whilst the UK weathers the stormy Brexit cloud, protecting our natural environment will be as important an issue as ever. As these changes manifest, CIRIA will continue to be a useful support in what will, no doubt, be challenging times.