Work on Smart Cities projects to continue while funding application is considered

Following a submission to apply for European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support “Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City” Strategic Intervention, members have approved in principle, for the council to continued engagement with the Scottish Cities Alliance and Highland partners to progress a number of projects while the application is being considered. 

£1.8million of the £10m applied for has been ring-fenced for Inverness and the Highlands for projects that use data and technology to enhance the delivery of services, promote economic growth, increase sustainability, provide open data and engage more actively with people and communities. 

The proposed projects are: 

  • Energy Monitoring Project (£100k)  -Led by the Development and Infrastructure Service of the Council this would run in seven communities in order to encourage energy efficiency, reducing fuel poverty and producing data to better understand how energy is used differently across the Highlands, which will enable communities to understand and  plan for their future energy needs.
  • Digital Health – Smarter Communities Project (£112.5k) - To develop technology and new services that support a more co-ordinated management of healthcare and social challenges. A Health Solutions Hub will be set up to provide a place for individuals and companies to bring project ideas and an exemplar project scoped and made ready within the first 12 months. This project will be led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and NHS Highland Research, Development and Innovation.
  • Transport Smart Cities Projects (£500k) – HITRANS and the traffic section of the Council will co-ordinate three transport projects. The first will be to upgrade traffic signal sites to carry technology to improve public transport flow, another will be to use traffic data to more effectively manage the travel network and open up `real time’ information to passengers while the third will  focus on expanding the use of `smart ticketing’ to give travellers more flexibility when using public transport.
  • Digital Inclusion Projects (£175k) – To focus on providing technology, skills, support and encouragement to Highland residents who are experiencing digital exclusion.  

Following the positive response from councillors at the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee yesterday (Wednesday 3 June), further work will now be done to work-up details and costings for the proposed projects.  

Chair of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Thomas Prag said: “The Alliance is all about sharing, co-operating and collaborating and this is an excellent opportunity for delivering some ground-breaking projects. Although the title may suggest the initiative benefits Scottish cities, in Highland the proposed projects which centre upon data and technology will bring regional-wide benefits.  

“I am particularly pleased to see a project to look at and come up with solutions for digital inclusion. As fast broadband reaches more and more people and the Council and others develop new ways of doing things, we must do our utmost to make sure

individuals and communities can fully engage when changes are made to how services are delivered.”

The first stage of the application, which was submitted on behalf of the Alliance by Glasgow City Council, is currently with the Scottish Government. Members will receive an up-date on progress and be able to discuss in more detail the potential projects at a future committee before a second stage ERDF application is submitted.

4 Jun 2015
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