UK councils failing to deliver on smart city programmes

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Research from lighting experts Lucy Zodion found a lack of budget, leadership and capability to deliver smart city projects are holding back UK councils

A lack of dedicated budget, leadership and capability is holding back the rollout of smart city projects across the UK, research released today (July 5) claims.

Smart lighting firm Lucy Zodion spoke to 187 councils across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and found 80 per cent had little to no involvement with smart city projects.

Five major barriers to delivery were highlighted during the research, which was carried out by DJS Research. These were: a lack of funding, a lack of internal prioritisation, a lack of evidence, insufficient collaboration, and a general lack of confidence amongst council leaders.

Smart city projects can produce significant savings, the study claims, with as $12.5 billion worth of savings possible on utility bills alone by enacting a smart metering solution. Last year, the Government made £40 million of funding available to local councils looking to launch smart city strategies.

Lucy Zodion managing director John Fox said: “Local authorities hold the key to unlocking the benefits of smart connected cities, yet this research has identified fundamental barriers to a consistent and cost-effective roll-out and significant differences to the approach to smart cities across the country.

“It is evident that we need leadership to make smart cities work: leadership from government to provide a clearer path to delivery and leadership from local authorities to create an over-arching strategy to suit individual cities. It is only when councils are able to make smart cities a strategic priority and work together to implement them efficiently, putting the citizen at the centre of their plans, will we be able to realise the potential of our future cities.”

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