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South Kesteven District Council to trial intelligent street lights that test air quality and measure footfall

Street lights in South Kesteven may soon be able to test air quality, measure footfall and tell their operators when they are not working.

South Kesteven District council is to trial such technology using a government-linked company Digital Catapult, which could become nationally significant.

SKDC has agreed to spend £10,000 with the company on developing a trial for such ‘intelligent’ street lighting.

Street lights.
Street lights.

However, members of the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee wanted to hear more details of the project and its scope.

SKDC’s organisational development and change manager Victoria Brackenbury told members Digital Catapult has the expertise to deliver such systems since it works with other innovators. Such digital sensors, she continued, would go into a trial of 15 to 20 lights across the district.

Then a decision will be made to ‘scale up’ the project’ which in time may see a move to put sensors in all of the district council’s street lights.

“It’s technology that is being used at the moment.”

Labour group leader Charmaine Morgan sawpotential for prototypes and questioned who would own the intellectual property.

Ms Brackenbury replied: “It’s about developing a system that we own rights to. Digital Catapult is a conduit. They have contacts with SMEs.”

Committee chairman Graham Jeal (Con) said a pilot scheme would go live in seven months time, to which Ms Brackenbury added the pilot would last three months as sensors collected data.

Coun Ashley Baxter (Ind) welcomed the scheme but noted an original council report gave little detail.

South Kesteven District Council.
South Kesteven District Council.

Coun Jeal said though council documents called it part of the ‘Internet of Things’ it wasn’t really as it was a ‘stepping stone’ using radio.

“If we become the go to council for the stepping stone, when 5G mobile networks are installed, we are well positioned to roll that out across the UK.”

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