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Gold Level Contributor

Saughton Park in Edinburgh has become the UK’s first fully eco-powered greenspace. 

The system uses unique micro-hydro technology on the Water of Leith, generating electricity for all the park’s needs, including the running of two ground source heat pump systems. These provide heat for the park’s glasshouse, buildings and the café.


The ground-breaking project was awarded almost £500,000 from SP Energy Networks’ £20million Green Economy Fund to support the installation of the low carbon energy solution.

By combining a micro-hydro scheme to generate electricity and ground source heat pumps to generate heat, the park’s natural assets are now helping decarbonise its energy demand. Estimates suggest this new technology will prevent more than 90 tonnes of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere each year – the equivalent of fully charging 11.5 million smartphones.

This project will allow the local community to fully benefit from the new technology, with over £18,000 being saved each year in energy costs. These funds will be re-invested in the park to create new educational and social facilities for locals to enjoy.

In 2013, an £8m regeneration project to modernise the 48-acre park launched as part of the City of Edinburgh Council’s ambitious plans to make the capital a carbon-neutral city by 2030.

This project aligns with Scotland’s mission to become the UK’s first net zero emissions country by 2045 and the Scottish Government’s efforts to meet climate change targets. Funded projects will be critical to green recovery as the UK economy recovers from the impact of Covid-19.

“The completion of this incredible project makes it the UK’s first eco-powered greenspace, proving that modern technology can be introduced to historic public parks,” said councillor Donald Wilson, culture and communities convener, City of Edinburgh Council.

“These are both aspects I have been personally involved in and I’m passionate about. It has been a dream of mine for over a decade and to have it become reality in such an impressive way is just fantastic.”

He continued: “Working collaboratively with partners like SP Energy Networks on innovations like this has allowed Edinburgh to lead the way in sustainable energy. The scheme will harness natural energy from the nearby Water of Leith and use it to power the park’s conservatory, café, and buildings, providing cleaner air for our local community and contributing greatly to Edinburgh’s ambitious net zero carbon goals.”

Frank Mitchell, CEO at SP Energy Networks, said Scotland and the UK have ambitious plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions and investing in community projects like this makes big strides towards a cleaner future for all of us.

He added: “We created the Green Economy Fund to help communities build their own green economy and decarbonise infrastructure and Saughton Park is a great example of how that can be done. Decarbonisation is more important than ever as we continue to drive a green recovery from the economic impact of Covid-19 and I’m very proud Saughton Park can now play its part to help achieve that ambition.”

So far, 36 projects have been awarded funding from SP Energy Networks across Central and Southern Scotland.

Originally published by
Smart Cities World Team | July 13, 2020
Smart Cities World

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Gold Level Contributor

UK poised to shut the door on Huawei

Image: Shutterstock

The UK government looked set to begin the process of removing Huawei from networks in the country and ban operators from purchasing new equipment, after a review into the vendor found severe security issues, The Sunday Times reported.

It reported a review by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) deemed Huawei’s products unsecure, and ministers are likely to approve policy in the next two weeks which would see a ban on the purchase of new Huawei equipment implemented at the end of the year.

Should the policy come into force, Huawei kit would be removed from existing parts of 5G networks by 2026 or 2027, which would be followed by its 4G and 3G involvement.

The NCSC’s decision represents a major shift from earlier in the year, when the UK approved operators to use Huawei equipment in non-sensitive parts of their networks, limited to 35 per cent.

However, in May, NCSC confirmed it was conducting a fresh review into the vendor to assess the impact of tightened US sanctions around the use of domestic components in overseas chip production.

The Sunday Times reported the NCSC found the US move “fundamentally changes” the situation, prompting the policy changes, which could be announced officially at the end of this month.

An unnamed government source told The Sunday Times the US sanctions are “unlike anything we’ve ever seen before”.

“Huawei is in a position without any easy fixes or loopholes. This fundamentally changes the calculation. The impacts are so severe that, given the need to give clarity to industry, there will be decision taken and parliament will be notified this month,” the source said.

The shift in stance on Huawei would represent a major victory for both the US, which lobbied for its allies to ban the vendor, and certain MPs within the government, who maintained pressure on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take a harder line on the company.

Huawei has protested its innocence since news of NCSC’s review in May, arguing it posed no security risk and insisting it operates independently from the Chinese government.

Originally published by
Kavit Majithia | July 6, 2020
Mobile World Live


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Gold Level Contributor

Analysis examines UK's beach capacity

Bournemouth beach has space for an estimated 78,628 socially-distanced visitors

In view of recent overcrowding following the easing of lockdown, Esri UK has explored how many people could hypothetically fit on some of the country’s most popular beaches using social distancing guidelines.

Spatial analysis of 10 of the UK’s most popular beaches by geographic information system (GIS) software and location intelligence specialist, Esri UK, has revealed how many people could hypothetically fit on the sand, while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Scenes in Bournemouth

 The analysis follows scenes in Bournemouth, last month, where 500,000 people, reportedly, descended onto the beach. At the specified two metres apart, Esri UK’s analysis found that only an estimated 78,628 people could fit. 

The method used placed one person inside a 2-metre diameter circle but with an additional 2 metres of space between each circle, to represent a hypothetical estimation of beach capacity, allowing some space for people to move around. 

Other beaches surveyed included Brighton (61,723 capacity), Newquay (23,777), Barafundle (3,246) and Luskentyre (24,243).

The figures are released ahead of pubs, restaurants and other hospitality and leisure businesses reopening this weekend in England, when it is expected that many popular destinations like beaches and parks will become extremely busy again.

“We wanted to examine how many people could hypothetically fit on a beach ahead of the main UK holiday season,” said Sam Bark, cartographer at Esri UK. “Spatial analysis can help give local authorities and other organisations a rapid indication of capacity, for a range of different spaces in these unprecedented times, not just beaches, such as green space or even indoors.

Continue Reading

Originally published by
Smart Cities World News Team | July 3, 2020
Smart Cities World

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Silver Level Contributor

Scooter trials in the UK: the cities; the operators; and the rules.

Scooter startups are very happy bunnies today.

The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) will allow cities and local authorities across the country to start running e-scooter trials from this Saturday. 

This is a big deal; until recently, it looked like the UK wouldn’t legalise — or even consider legalising — scooters for years, unlike just about every other country in Europe. In May, the government made a huge U-turn, and fast-tracked plans for scooter trials, which it had originally intended to start in 2021.

For weeks now, dozens of scooter startup operators have been charging up their electric batteries, trying to cosy up to local government decision-makers and hiring top brass, ready to take on the market.

From this weekend onwards, they can finally hit the streets.

Here’s what you need to know about the state of play.

Which scooter operators are in the running?

CoMoUK, a shared transport advocacy group, lists 18 companies which hope to win local government tenders. They include UK-based shared bike operator Beryl (which has recently launched a range of e-scooters too), Swedish scooter startup Voi, Berlin-based scooter company Tier, Amsterdam-based scooter provider Dott and US-based micromobility companies Lime, Bird and Spin.

Tier says it already has 1,000 scooters at the ready in a UK warehouse — and will be shipping over more soon. Lime also says it has “thousands of scooters ready to be rolled out across the UK”.

Voi, meanwhile, says it’s hoping to hit 100,000 rides per day in the UK by the end of the year.

Which cities and local authorities are interested in trials?

Around 45 cities and local authorities are keen to give scooters a go, including Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle and Nottingham. Various London boroughs are also interested.

They’re hoping that e-scooters, along with other micromobility solutions, can provide an alternative to both congested public transport and private cars as the country eases out of lockdown.

They have until the end of August to start trials.

Continue reading

Originally published by
Amy Lewin | June 30, 2020

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Gold Level Contributor

Vodafone tips 5G to aid UK Covid-19 recovery

Vodafone UK called on the government to prioritise 5G rollout as part of its Covid-19 (coronavirus) recovery plan, as it published a new report predicting the technology could add £158 billion to the economy over the next decade.

The operator stated research for its Levelling up: How 5G can boost productivity across the UK report, which it commissioned in association with consultancy WPI Economics, showed the technology could deliver the economic boost by transforming the way the public access vital services.

Vodafone used the report to mark one year since the launch of its 5G network in the UK, and said investment in 5G could lead to the creation of new jobs and business opportunities, as well as improve the provision of public services.

It calculated the cumulative economic benefits to UK output stand at more than £38 billion in the five years to 2025, and at more than €120 billion from then to 2030.

However, to ensure 5G delivers the maximum financial impact, the operator called on the government to make digital services central to its economic recovery plan by creating the policy, procurement and an investment environment to support faster rollout of the technology.

Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK, said 5G will play a “vital role” as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is crucial to recognise the role that fast and reliable connectivity will play in unlocking the digital potential that exist in every nation and region across the UK,” he said.

Vodafone’s 5G services are currently available in 44 locations across the UK.

Originally published by
Kavit Majithia | June 29, 2020
Mobile World Live

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Silver Level Contributor

Mastercard has joined a coalition working to offer immediate support to digitally and financially excluded people in the UK, focusing on those in poverty hit hardest by the impact of Covid-19.

The payments giant is joined in the 'Leave Nobody in the Dark' campaign by the Good Things Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation social change organisation, The Aple Collective of people with experience of poverty, and Clean Slate Training & Employment CIC.

In the UK, it is estimated that 11.7 million people lack basic digital skills and that there are an estimated 1.9 million households with no internet access.

This digital divide is most pronounced for those living in poverty; almost half of those with an income below £11,500 lack essential digital skills compared to less than 11% of those with an income over £25,000.

Covid-19 is exacerbating the problem: An estimated 6 million people have fallen behind on a household bill due to coronavirus, and data from Citizen's Advice shows that the least digitally engaged are more likely to be paying higher household bills irrespective of income, household or age.

The new coalition is aiming to address this through a new self-help portal for those who have limited digital skills to boost their online confidence and engage with free, trusted online support around money, security, benefits and debt.

The programme is also offering devices, data and digital skills support to people in poverty, and practical money help and improved digital confidence, delivered remotely by Clean Slate and other community partners.

Kelly Devine, divisional president, Mastercard UK & Ireland, says: "To recover from Covid-19 in a long-term, sustainable way, we have to make sure that everyone is included. Helping people access the digital economy, and feel confident in doing so, is a critical part of that."
Originally published by
June 24, 2020
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Silver Level Contributor

The first phase of the screening trial will gather 14,000 participants, including healthcare workers, their households and more. (Getty/RossHelen)

The U.K. government will begin testing a new, swabless coronavirus test, designed to be completed at home on a weekly basis by spitting into a collection tube.

The first phase of the screening trial will gather 14,000 participants—including healthcare workers, their households and more—run by the University of Southampton, the local government and the National Health Service (NHS). Test kits will be delivered and collected every week, with results set to be turned around within 48 hours. 

“Saliva testing could potentially make it even easier for people to take coronavirus tests at home, without having to use swabs,” said the U.K.’s health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock. “This trial will also help us learn if routine, at-home testing could pick up cases of the virus earlier.”

The trial will run for up to four weeks, in addition to ongoing, routine testing of asymptomatic healthcare staff. Any positive COVID-19 results will be shared with the NHS’ contract tracing program, to help isolate cases before they spread.

“We will initially invite Southampton’s 800-strong GP practice workforce and their households to take part, followed by some other essential key workers and some University of Southampton staff and students as we evaluate the logistics needed for regular testing of large population groups,” said Debbie Chase, director of public health for the Southampton City Council.

The saliva test, developed by U.K.-based OptiGene, will use a LAMP assay to detect sequences of the novel coronavirus’s genome. The testing group is also exploring the use of other swabless tests, including from Chronomics, Avacta, MAP Science and Oxford Nanoimaging. 

An additional pilot project will work to validate the LAMP saliva test’s accuracy against the standard nasal swab and PCR tests.

“The health, social and economic impacts of lockdown cannot be underestimated, said Keith Godfrey, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Southampton. “Through this initiative, we believe we can contribute to safely restoring economic activity within the city and region during national relaxation measures, whilst enabling people to regain their lives, work and education.”

Originally published by
Connor Hale | June 22, 2020
Fierce Biotech

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Silver Level Contributor

Image: istockphoto

The Bank of England will pump an extra £100bn into the UK economy to help fight the “unprecedented” coronavirus-induced downturn.

Bank policymakers voted 8-1 to increase the size of its bond-buying programme.

However, they said there was growing evidence that the hit to the economy would be “less severe” than initially feared.

The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) also kept interest rates at a record low of 0.1%.

The move comes just days after Bank governor Andrew Bailey said policymakers were ready to take action after the economy suffered its biggest monthly contraction on record.

The UK economy shrank by 20.4% in April, while official jobs data showed the number of workers on UK payrolls fell by more than 600,000 between March and May.

The Bank said more recent indicators of economic activity suggested the economy was starting to bounce back.

Minutes from the MPC’s June meeting said: “Payments data are consistent with a recovery in consumer spending in May and June, and housing activity has started to pick up recently.”

However, it warned that the outlook for the economy remained uncertain.

The minutes added: “While recent demand and output data had not been quite as negative as expected, other indicators suggested greater risks around the potential for longer-lasting damage to the economy from the pandemic.”

Back in May, policymakers warned the economy was heading for its sharpest recession on record.

Scenarios drawn up by the Bank suggested the economy could shrink by 25% in the three months to June.

However, the MPC said more recent evidence suggested the contraction would be less severe.

The extra monetary stimulus – known as quantitative easing (QE) – will raise the size of the Bank’s asset purchase programme to £745bn.

Policymakers said the injection would help to support financial markets and underpin the recovery.

However, Andy Haldane, the Bank’s chief economist, voted against the increase.

He said the recovery was happening “sooner and materially faster” than the Bank expected in May.

Continue reading

Originally published by
Western Capital News | June 18, 2020

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Gold Level Contributor

Vodafone UK issues Huawei 5G warning

Vodafone UK reportedly argued the country would lose the progress made on 5G if operators were forced to rip out Huawei equipment from networks, as pressure grows on the government to ban the Chinese vendor.

Speaking to Financial Times (FT), Vodafone CTO Scott Petty said “the UK’s leadership in 5G will be lost”, if mobile operators are made to spend time and money replacing existing equipment with gear from other vendors.

His comments come as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces increasing pressure from the US and his own MPs to ban Huawei due to security concerns.

The Telegraph reported members of the UK government are pushing Johnson to set a fixed date within two months for all Huawei equipment to be removed from 5G networks.

UK shift

Huawei was cleared to supply up to 35 per cent of equipment in non-sensitive parts of 5G networks by Johnson in January.

However, after the US tightened sanctions in mid-May, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre commenced a review of the potential impact of the new restrictions on UK 5G networks.

While Petty’s claim the UK had established “leadership” in 5G is questionable, the fact remains all four of the country’s main operators have launched next-generation networks, with BT’s EE, Vodafone and 3 UK all using Huawei gear.

FT said the three companies had been upgrading their network with Huawei equipment in recent weeks, following the decision in January. Unless government policy changes, the operators are tied into the agreements.

Petty argued the government should focus on “expanding 5G coverage and developing 5G capabilities for the UK industry” rather than pushing for the removal of Huawei.

However, the company is also taking steps to plan for the future. Petty said Vodafone was working with Swedish vendor Ericsson and other suppliers to trial 5G equipment. “We are not tied to one supplier, but it is import to understand the extent of what is at stake here.”

Petty’s comments will no doubt provide a boost to Huawei, which this week commenced a media campaign defending itself against the criticism in the UK.

Originally published by
Kavit Majithia | June 10, 2020
Mobile World Live

Read more…
Gold Level Contributor

Image: Shutterstock

Huawei made a vehement public defence against criticism levelled against it in the UK, as authorities faced continued pressure to reverse a decision to allow the company to supply 5G kit to the country’s operators.

During a media call, Huawei global VP Victor Zhang said the vendor wanted to correct misinformation, including questions around its ownership, noting it is “independent from any government, including the Chinese government”.

He expressed confidence the UK would continue to take an “evidence-based approach” to its policies on operator supply chains.

Zhang pointed to Huawei as a “very transparent company” and noted the need for collaboration to mitigate general cybersecurity risks.

He also noted UK government goals of achieving improvements in fibre were already behind due to Covid-19 delays and must now be accelerated, adding full fibre and 5G would “enable economic recovery and industrial revolution”.

Alongside defending its credentials on the call, Huawei took out full-page advertisements in UK newspapers highlighting its role in operator builds of 3G and 4G networks, alongside a commitment to helping achieve government gigabit broadband goals.

The advert, positioned as a letter to the public, read: “For nearly 20 years, we’ve supplied the UK’s mobile and broadband companies with 3G and 4G. But some now question our role in helping Britain lead the way in 5G. We want you to know we are as committed as ever to providing your network operator with the best equipment so you can share photos, stream movies, get together online and much more.”

UK fight

Huawei’s public offensive comes as pressure continues to mount on the UK government to reverse a decision to allow operators to deploy Huawei equipment in non-sensitive parts of their 5G networks, subject to a 35 per cent limit.

Since then, pressure from the US for a complete ban on the vendor on security grounds continued unabated, with a number of UK politicians also wading into the issue to call for a government u-turn.

Following the announcement of tighter US restrictions on Huawei last month, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre began a fresh review into the vendor.

UK authorities are also reportedly mulling an alliance with nine other countries to pool resources to develop 5G equipment, reducing reliance on Chinese technology.

Originally published by
Chris Donkin | June 8, 2020
Mobile World Live

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Gold Level Contributor

The map colour codes the width of London's pavements

To help public sector and other organisations respond to government guidelines, Esri UK has made new map data available for free as part of its Covid-19 response programme.

Spatial analysis by geographic information system (GIS) software and location intelligence specialist Esri UK has revealed that most pavements around the UK (70 per cent) are less than three metres wide, making it difficult for pedestrians to social distance at the specified two metres apart.

As councils adapt their infrastructure to make walking safer for the public, Esri has released the new map data for free to help the public sector and other organisations respond to government guidelines. It claims more than 30 local authorities are using the new pavement map to date and these include Glasgow City Council, Stirling Council and East Dunbartonshire Council.

Disaster response

Esri used measurements from Ordnance Survey to create the map of all pavement widths, which shows that only 30 per cent of Great Britain’s pavements are at least three metres wide, 36 per cent are between two to three metres and 34 per cent are less than two metres wide.

The map is part of Esri UK’s Covid-19 Disaster Response Programme, created to provide organisations with new mapping and analytical capabilities for free, to help manage their response to the pandemic.

Local authorities are using Esri’s mapping and analysis tools to help adjust their service provision, map vulnerable communities, deploy volunteers and communicate with citizens.

“Easy access to current pavement width data will help all councils make faster decisions with greater certainty and ensure walking is as safe as possible”

“The pavement map is designed to help local authorities and related organisations prioritise their efforts, to ensure the safety of the public, as lockdown restrictions are being gradually eased,” said Paul Clarke, head of Esri UK’s government practice. “By giving them an instant view of the situation they’re faced with, the map reduces the time needed to manually measure pavements and not rely on records which may be out of date.

Read more

Originally published
by SmartCitiesWorld news team | June 5, 2020
Smart Cities World

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Silver Level Contributor

UK looks to Huawei rivals for 5G tech

The UK government held talks with NEC about supplying 5G equipment for mobile networks, as part of a wider push to reduce the nation’s reliance on Chinese technology, Bloomberg reported.

NEC reportedly spoke to UK officials last month, with Samsung Electronics also being considered, Bloomberg wrote, citing a source.

The talks with NEC centered on introducing the Japanese company’s technology into the UK 5G market, which could commence with a trial programme dubbed 5G Create.

Samsung, which does not currently have a 5G infrastructure presence in the UK, will be invited for talks “soon”, added the source.

The UK’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has been handed a £200 million kitty to work on 5G trial programmes to develop mobile infrastructure.

Removing Huawei

The UK’s move to diversify its suppliers comes as it appears to have shifted its position on Huawei, five months after Prime Minister Boris Johnson cleared the Chinese vendor to supply a limited amount of 5G gear in non-sensitive parts of networks.

However, the decision led to opposition within his own party, as well as from the US, which banned the vendor from its networks on security grounds.

It also recently moved to cut off Huawei’s access to components produced overseas using domestic software and technology.

The UK government last month revealed it was reviewing Huawei’s position in light of the tightened US sanctions.

Bloomberg said the government is looking at ways to phase out Huawei in UK networks by 2023, while also exploring a range of alternative suppliers to diversify its supply chain.

In the last week, the UK government and the US Republican Senator Tom Cotton have raised the idea of establishing a coalition with allied nations to develop 5G equipment as an alternative to Chinese technology.

Huawei hit back at the fresh scrutiny, stating there was no evidence it poses a threat to security, while adding it welcomes competition in the market.

Originally published by
Kavit Majithia | June 4, 2020
Mobile World Live

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Gold Level Contributor

The electric refuse collection vehicles will start operating in Manchester in the autumn

The city council is aiming to halve its direct carbon emissions by 2025 as part of a wider drive to make Manchester zero carbon by 2038 at the latest in response to the climate change emergency.

Manchester City Council is to replace almost half of its refuse collection vehicles with emission-free electric alternatives.

Biffa, which holds the contract for waste collection and street cleaning in the UK city, has placed an order for 27 new electric refuse collection vehicles (e-RCVs) to replace diesel wagons which have reached the end of their natural lifespans.

It follows an agreement on funding with the council.

Zero carbon action plan

The move is a step towards delivering the council’s zero carbon action plan. It is aiming to halve its direct carbon emissions by 2025 as part of a wider drive to make Manchester zero carbon by 2038 at the latest in response to the climate change emergency.

"As a council we’ve said all along that we will have to do things very differently to realise our ambition to dramatically cut carbon emissions,” said councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, executive member for neighbourhoods.

"We’re proud, together with Biffa, that our waste collection service is in the forefront of the forward-thinking response to the climate change challenge and we hope it will inspire others to follow suit.

"The only difference to the new service that residents should notice is that the new vehicles are quieter and cleaner."

The new vehicles will arrive and start operating in the autumn. The order is being placed with Blackburn-based manufacturer Electra. It follows an 18-month trial project in which a fully electric Electra vehicle did the same job as its diesel equivalent with no compromise on payload or operation with the benefit of zero tailpipe emissions.

"As a council we’ve said all along that we will have to do things very differently to realise our ambition to dramatically cut carbon emissions”

The switch to electric eRCVs will reportedly save around 900 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, cutting around four per cent of the council’s current direct annual emissions.

The commitment will cost the council £9.79m. This is marginally more than it would have cost for a like-for-like replacement with diesel vehicles but the difference will be largely offset by energy savings and the availability of grants over the new vehicles’ expected 10-year lifespan

"This major investment in new electric bin lorries is a great example of the council’s commitment to playing its full part in tackling climate change and will also contribute to better air quality,” said councillor Angeliki Stogia, executive member for environment. "We’ve seen during the coronavirus lockdown how less pollution and better air quality benefits everyone.

"Climate change is an urgent challenge which we are getting on with addressing."

The council and Biffa were supported and advised on the purchase by the Energy Saving Trust. The overall cost of the vehicles is being reduced through government plug-in grants designed to encourage a switch to electric vehicles.

Originally published by
SmartCitiesWorld news team | June 3, 2020
Smart Cities World

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Gold Level Contributor

Credit: nrqemi - Shutterstock

The COVID-19 lockdown has led to reduced pollution and emissions in the UK and around the world, providing a clear indication of how cars affect air quality and carbon emissions. But such a change is only temporary—millions of petrol cars are waiting for restrictions to ease. Then, higher levels of emissions will resume.

But what if they didn't? What if all cars switched to electric overnight? We recently published a peer-reviewed conference paper looking at the emissions impact for such a switch in Scotland alone, and have now extended our analysis to the whole of the UK for a forthcoming publication. We found that if the UK's cars went entirely electric its total carbon emissions would be cut by almost 12%.

It's a hypothetical scenario, but not total fantasy. The UK government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 and aims to bring all greenhouse gases to net-zero by 2050. We are still some way off: though there were 39 million vehicles on UK roads last year, just 27,000 new electric vehicles were registered. But the switch will happen, eventually.

Electric cars are not even a particularly new technology—at the end of 19th century, 90% of the taxis in New York were electric. But Henry Ford and others soon figured out how to mass produce internal combustion engine cars at affordable costs, and changed our sense of "normal" car technology.

This is a shame for many reasons, not least because electric cars are much simpler in design: they simply consist of electric motors, a battery and a controller. This removes the complexity of moving mechanical parts in the internal combustion engine and associated technology, and the manufacturing energy needed to produce each part. Hence, the carbon footprint of manufacturing both cars are not significantly different, although electric cars require slightly more carbon to produce due to the battery.

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Originally published by
George Milev and Amin Al-Habaibeh, 

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Gold Level Contributor

Today British AI tech startup Greyparrot has raised around €2 million to tackle the growing waste crisis, by introducing digitisation and automation to recycling. The round was led by Speedinvest, a leading early-stage industrial tech investor, with participation from Force Over Mass. The new funds will be used to further develop and scale Greyparrot’s solution across global markets, setting the company up to revolutionise the recycling industry with artificial intelligence.

Only 14% of waste is recycled, due to inefficient recycling systems, rising labour costs, and strict quality requirements imposed on recycled material. On a global scale to date, 60% of the 2 billion tons of solid waste produced each year ends up in open dumps and landfill, causing major environmental impact. Additionally, less than 1% of waste is monitored and audited, as this expensive manual process is difficult to scale and provides little insight into facilities. 

Greyparrot, founded in 2019, provides AI-driven waste recognition software to monitor and sort waste at scale. Their first product, an Automated Waste Monitoring System, is currently deployed on moving conveyor belts in sorting facilities to measure large waste flows. The system automatically identifies different types of waste, providing composition information and analytics to help facilities increase recycling rates. 

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Originally published
By Charlotte Tucker - EU-Startups

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Gold Level Contributor

Connected vehicles will initially be trialled on the 300km test route

Located in the West Midlands and spanning the cities of Coventry and Birmingham, it will allow connected and autonomous vehicles to be trialled on urban, rural, suburban and highway roads.

Work is underway on a 300km test environment for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) in the UK.

Located in the West Midlands, it will span the cities of Coventry and Birmingham and allow the vehicles to be trialled on urban, rural, suburban and highway roads.

The project is run by the Midlands Future Mobility consortium of public and private sector organisations and academia, including Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), WMG (University of Warwick), Coventry University, Highways England, Amey, Costain, MIRA, AVL and Wireless Infrastructure Group.

Real-world locations

The route has been developed by TfWM in collaboration with Coventry City Council, Birmingham City Council and Solihull Council and provides over 300km of inner city, suburban and rural roads on which to fully assess vehicle performance in a wide range of real-world locations and situations.

It includes infrastructure such as smart CCTV, weather stations, communications units, and GPS. Initially connected vehicles will be trialled along the route.

Vehicles will not be driving themselves during the early stages of research and will have a driver and occasionally a second person monitoring how the vehicles are working.

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Originally published by
SmartCitiesWorld news team | May 22, 2020

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Gold Level Contributor

Liberty Charge aims to provide local authorities with plug-and-play on-street charging

Liberty Charge said it will provide the “under-the-pavement power” and communications infrastructure necessary for charging in residential areas in towns and cities.

Liberty Global Ventures and Zouk Capital have announced a joint venture partnership to roll out on-street residential electric vehicle charging points in UK towns and cities.

Liberty Charge said it will provide the “under-the-pavement power” and communications infrastructure necessary for charging in residential areas.

It will make use of the connectivity network, infrastructure deployment capabilities and relationships with local authorities of Liberty Global’s brand, Virgin Media.

Charging access

The joint venture aims to provide charge point operators and local authorities with plug-and-play on-street charging facilities in large cities and towns where many residents don’t have access to off-street parking.

The 50:50 joint venture was originally set up as an incubation initiative within Liberty Global Ventures last year.

Zouk is the manager of the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF), the dedicated fund established by the UK Government in 2019 and backed by HM Treasury to help develop public charging infrastructure points for electric vehicles throughout the UK.

“CIIF’s central objective is to scale open-access, public EV charging networks for the UK consumer and this is exactly what Liberty Charge will achieve for the thousands of car owners, who do not have access to off street parking,” said Massimo Resta, partner at Zouk Capital.

Liberty Global’s infrastructure deployment capabilities and Virgin Media’s extensive connectivity network make it perfectly positioned to rapidly deploy on-street residential charging in UK towns and cities, and we are excited to be partnering with them on this opportunity.”

The partnership supports Liberty Global’s efforts in this space following on from its Virgin Media Park and Charge (VPACH) project, which aims to deploy 1,200 charging sockets in towns and cities across the country by early 2021.

Access to public electric vehicle charging is a key initiative within the UK government’s drive to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Providing on-street residential charging is a core component of Zouk’s Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund strategy.

Originally published by
by SmartCitiesWorld news team | May 21, 2020
Smart Cities World

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Gold Level Contributor

UK - How to apply to the Future Fund

:Credit: Unsplash - Gary Butterfield

The UK government has announced further details about its Future Fund — and will open the scheme to applications this Wednesday.

The £500m fund, of which the Treasury will stump up £250m, will issue convertible loans to startups to help them weather the Covid-19 storm. Government loans could range from £125,000 to £5m, and will be managed by the British Business Bank (BBB).

Investors and founders alike have pointed out that the fund could disappear fairly quickly, and many companies could miss out. However, yesterday, chancellor Rishi Sunak told Parliament that “should applications exceed the initial £250m provided, [he] will be more than happy to extend the scheme”.

“I think this will be a vital part of fuelling our recovery, because… these companies provide the growth of tomorrow and they deserve our support,” Sunak added.

Lead investors will apply on behalf of startups (and other investors) via an online portal. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

To help startups and investors make a speedy and smooth application to the scheme, we’ve gathered tips and advice from lawyers, VCs and bankers.

How can startups apply?

They can’t.

Sonya Iovieno, managing director of Silicon Valley Bank, says: “Investors will need to drive the application process and lead any submission. The company itself does not initiate the process.”

Who can be an investor in the round?

“Any private investor can provide matched funding as part of the Future Fund round. They can be an individual (but cannot claim EIS), a VC or a corporate investor,” says Michael Buckworth, managing director of law firm Buckworths. 

“Matched funding can be provided by non-UK investors as well as UK investors,” he adds.

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Originally published by
Amy Lewin | May 19, 2020

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Gold Level Contributor

Data from ProSapient and Adelpha

The UK government’s startup bailout package has its cheerleaders — and its critics.

Two weeks ago, the UK government announced a £1bn support package for startups. 

The news came after France and Germany announced their own support schemes for the tech sector, and on the back of fervent lobbying by the Save Our Startups campaign. As part of a £500m Future Fund, the government promised to invest £250m alongside private investors into high-growth companies, and also said it would make £750m worth of grants and loans available to research and development-heavy small businesses. 

But not everyone was happy with the result. 

The Future Fund has been criticised for focusing too heavily on the VC portion of the investment landscape, for failing to cater to the needs of diverse and regional founders and, most of all, for being incompatible with EIS and SEIS (two government schemes which give huge tax advantages to individuals investing in startups). 

The finer details of the Future Fund are still being thrashed out, with further information expected to be announced this week or next.

Question is, is it salvageable? And does it really need saving?

The finer details

The headline terms of the Future Fund have one big old design flaw, as far as many founders and investors see it: they’re not compatible with the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). 

That more or less wipes out the chance that startups can raise match funding from angel investors or Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) — and places (some say) undue attention on the VC portion of the investment landscape. 

More than half of funding of UK startups comes from private individuals — angels, high net worth individuals, family offices and founders themselves — according to research platform ProSapient and corporate financial advisor Adelpha. Just 17% comes from venture capital and private equity funds — yet, as it stands, this significantly smaller pool of capital will be best-placed to co-invest with the Future Fund.

“The government response seems to have been largely influenced by the VC community despite how small and narrow a part of the funding spectrum they are,” says Addie Pinkster, CEO of Adelpha.

Read more here

Originally published by
Amy Lewin
May 7, 2020

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Gold Level Contributor

London has made improvements to boost social distancing using temporary infrastructure

Mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London said the UK capital needs to prepare for a possible 10-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking when lockdown restrictions are eased.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Transport for London (TfL), have unveiled plans to repurpose and transform London’s streets to accommodate a possible 10-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking when lockdown restrictions are eased.

With London’s public transport capacity potentially running at a fifth of Covid-19 pre-crisis levels, millions of journeys a day will need to be made by other means. If people switch only a fraction of these journeys to cars, London risks grinding to a halt, air quality will worsen, and road danger will increase. The London Streetspace initiative aims to prevent this happening.

 Huge challenges 

Khan said the capacity of the capital’s public transport will be dramatically reduced post-coronavirus as a result of the huge challenges faced around social distancing.

“Everyone who can work from home must continue to do so for some time to come. The emergency measures included in our major strategic London Streetspace programme will help those who have to travel to work by fast-tracking the transformation of streets across our city.”

He continued: “Many Londoners have rediscovered the joys of walking and cycling during lockdown and, by quickly and cheaply widening pavements, creating temporary cycle lanes and closing roads to through traffic we will enable millions more people to change the way they get around our city.”

Working with London’s boroughs TfL will make changes, focusing on three key areas:

  • The rapid construction of a strategic cycling network, using temporary materials, including new routes aimed at reducing crowding on London Underground and train lines, and on busy bus corridors
  • A complete transformation of local town centres to enable local journeys to be safely walked and cycled where possible. Wider footways on high streets will facilitate a local economic recovery, with people having space to queue for shops as well as enough space for others to safely walk past while socially distancing
  • Reducing traffic on residential streets, creating low-traffic neighbourhoods right across London to enable more people to walk and cycle as part of their daily routine, as has happened during lockdown.

Euston Road is one of the first main thoroughfares to benefit from temporary cycle lanes. Park Lane could follow suit under plans being studied.

Read more here

Originally published

May 7, 2020
Smart Cities World

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