Merton awarded share of £4m for Internet of Things project to help people live better, healthier lives and to generate economic growth

The South London Partnership (SLP), a group of five boroughs including Merton, has been awarded £4 million by London Councils to create an Internet of Things.

This is a data sharing system which aims to improve transport, the environment, and people’s health, as well as boosting economic growth.

The funding will enable Merton and the other four councils, Croydon, Kingston, Richmond and Sutton, which make up the SLP, to work across borough boundaries on a variety of projects to improve people’s quality of life, so that they remain healthy and independent for longer. Harnessing new technology will also deliver significant savings to borough budgets.

The London Councils fund has been awarded to the SLP as part of the 2018-19 Business Rate Retention Strategic Investment Pot (SIP).

The project will pilot new ways to obtain new data insights using internet-connected sensors, with minimal human intervention. It will involve engagement with businesses and residents to understand what could be measured to support economic growth. The project aims to reduce inequalities locally, encourage growth that minimises the east/west divide in the borough and ensure there is a benefit for all residents and businesses.

Examples of potential projects that could be developed include:

  • Understanding where people travel to and from, the routes they take, and what times they undertake their journeys
  • Supporting planning departments to encourage the right type of development in communities and enable regeneration
  • Combining air quality and location data to see how many people’s health is affected in certain areas – this can help local authorities make plans to reduce pollutants, resulting in cleaner and healthier places

Councillor Mark Allison, Deputy Leader of Merton Council and Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “This is an exciting and innovative opportunity which has great potential to help bridge the gap between residents in less affluent areas and the rest of the borough. By working together across South London we can explore new ways of using technology to improve life for residents. As a business-like council, we are pleased that this initiative will also boost economic development by supporting local business.”

Notes to editors :

Funds from the London Business Rates Pilot have been awarded to the Partnership, which comprises the councils of Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Sutton, as part of the 2018-19 Business Rate Retention Strategic Investment Pot (SIP) which is administered by the City of London Corporation.

Ultimately, a national local government IoT network and platform could be developed, including the safe and secure sharing of data between councils, universities and the public for the benefit of all.

Sutton Council has been selected to lead the project on behalf of all other South London Partnership borough.

The project will also help realise the Mayor of London’s Smarter London Together roadmap for enhancing digital leadership and skills.