Careful planning around where and how new homes and commercial developments are built could reduce the level of investment needed, and increase the sustainability of infrastructure in the future, according to the Environment Agency.
Matt Ellis, strategic environment planner at the Environment Agency, said: "Our communities are supported by a network of environmental infrastructure that sustain economic activity, quality of life and protects the environment. To support housing and other growth we need to invest in our environmental services both to provide the needed additional capacity and to meet higher environmental standards."
Ellis added: "The cost of investment in environmental infrastructure is not fixed. If we change the way we use resources and are careful about where, when and how we build our homes and businesses we could need to invest less in new capacity.
"To achieve this, our environmental infrastructure requires strategic, long-term planning and sustained investment."
The Environment Agency is committed to working in partnership to ensure that this happens and the region has the environmental infrastructure it needs to support sustainable growth and its growing communities by:
- Working closely with partners to better understand all sources of flooding and how this impacts the plan and design new developments and our existing communities. This will allow us to align its flood risk management activities and investment in ways which better manage flood risk ;
- Working to ensure investment in green infrastructure provides cross cutting solutions for some of the other environmental infrastructure challenges such as flood risk, improving water quality and managing the impacts of climate change;
- Ensuring that our communities are supported by adequate waste infrastructure and manages more of their waste in accordance with the waste hierarchy; and
- Ensuring that growth and regeneration is supported by adequate sewerage, waste water treatment and water supply infrastructure.