The proportion of smart city initiatives focused on environmental problems has not increased over the last five years, according to new analysis.
There is a disconnect between environmental policies and smart city strategies finds a new report, which also warns cities face “huge challenges” to deliver their environmental ambitions.
The report, released by the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), analyses the extent to which cities are capitalising on the potential of smart environmental opportunities.
According to Strategy to reality: getting smart cities to deliver for the environment, cities that have recorded 2020 emissions targets though the Carbon Disclosure Project are on average still 47 per cent short of meeting those targets.
In addition, while all the 12 cities analysed for the report had comprehensive environmental strategies, cities on average only had one other smart environmental initiative (aside from smart energy management initiatives).
Furthermore, the proportion of smart initiatives that are focused on environmental problems (23 per cent) has not increased over the last five years. The report also examines city recycling rates and air pollution.
“Cities need to join-up their smart strategies with their environmental ambitions and look again at their procurement practices.”
The report finds several factors are responsible for holding back the adoption of smart environmental technologies, including:
"Many cities face entrenched environmental challenges: low recycling rates, poor air quality and a struggle to meet emissions targets,” said Matthew Farrow¸ executive director of EIC.
“We need to leave no stone unturned in the battle to clean up our cities, and despite the enthusiasm for the smart city agenda, smart environmental applications have real potential that is not being fully utilised. Cities need to join up their smart strategies with their environmental ambitions and look again at their procurement practices.”
The report also sets out an “agenda for action” and suggests the following actions would help cities’ efforts to deliver a better environment:
EIC is the main trade association for the UK environmental services and technology sector. Its smart cities initiative is supported by Aecom and Bird & Bird.
The full report can be accessed here.
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