Skip to the content

Bristol aims to use IoT to fight air pollution



City council scores in EU competition and submits bid for funding from DCMS to develop more granular environmental measures

Bristol City Council has pitched for central government support for a project to use internet of things (IoT) to find new ways of dealing with air pollution.

It has won an EU competition and is pitching the project as an IoT demonstrator in the contest being run by Innovate UK on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for £10 million of support funding.

The Replicate project (REnaissance of PLaces with Innovative Citizenship And TEchnologies) involves using data gathered from sensors around the city to develop environmental measures that are more granular and cheaper than those currently in use. It could support the creation of apps and services for people with health conditions aggravated by air pollution, and the lowering of emissions.

Fully committed

Stephen Hilton, Bristol’s director of futures, said the council is committed to the project whether or not it wins the funds.

“Winning the IoT city demonstrator will really help to accelerate Bristol and the wider region’s progress and create a real UK exemplar for how IoT can both tackle city challenges and create economic benefits,” he said. “However, this is a path that Bristol is taking anyway, so we will find ways to do this even if we don’t win the £10 million. It will just take us longer and UK plc will miss out.”

Much of the enabling infrastructure is in place or in the pipeline. It has the Bristol is Open platform, which uses the council’s BNet high speed fibre optic network and the University of Bristol’s Blue Crystal High Performance Computer to work on new solutions for public and commercial services. This will be used as the main network to demonstrate the IoT solutions.

It also has the 3D Data Dome, a node on the Bristol is Open network that provides visualisations of data.

Winning the DCMS competition would make it possible to install more sensors.

The council has formed a partnership with a number of businesses to develop the project: Japanese IT firm NEC; digital industry company GE; professional services provider Ernst & Young; engineering and project management consultancy Atkins Global; technical service provider Imtech UK; tech firm Esoterix Systems; data aggregation and communication platform Zipabout; and relationship business management company Zuora.

It said it is also working with other local authorities in the west country, including Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset Councils. The University of Bristol and the University of the West of England are also involved, and the bid has won the support of the West of England Enterprise Partnership Board.

EU prize

Bristol’s work on using the IoT to combat air pollution has already received a reward from the EU, in the form of a €25 million prize from a competition run as part of the Horizon 2020 programme. It was won in a partnership with San Sebastian in Spain and Florence in Italy.

Kevin O’Malley, city innovation team manager for Bristol, said: “Winning the Replicate bid shows how Bristol is leading the way in researching what the cities of the future could look like….. It is great to now finally be able to implement the smart technology our bid covered in order to create cities that are better equipped and more resilient in the future.”

Image from Bristol City Council




Register For Alerts

Keep informed - Get the latest news about the use of technology, digital & data for the public good in your inbox from UKAuthority.