Localis, a local government thinktank, has published its Smart Cities: Fair Investment for Sustainable Growth report, which addresses the challenges ahead for the transport and energy networks.
The report argues that energy and infrastructure policies that are outdated nee urgent modernisation, while local operators must be free to invest ahead of demand, if the government are to have any hope of meeting the ambitious zero emission targets set for 2040.
The government has set out its targets in the Road to Zero Strategy, which will encourage greener transport and infrastructure.
But Localis believes in this context, the transport sector must be smarter so that it has the capacity and capability to grow green infrastructure.
The Smart Cities report focused on two key questions:-
- How can we ensure that investment in physical infrastructure matches the needs of the new, smart society?
- How can we ensure that the gains of smart infrastructure are evenly and fairly distributed?
In its report, Localis has called on the government to devolve some Ofgem powers to the city regions and strategic authorities, who can then make their own ‘smart city’ plans and policies, based on their understanding and expertise of their own surroundings.
To build environmentally sustainable, economically productive and inclusive smart cities, Localis made eight recommendations.
Along with the devolution of Ofgem powers, these include upgrades to networks to enable smart energy, and the roll out of electric vehicles must be done fairly to give everybody equal opportunities of using these vehicles.
The report also called for a mandate for local authorities to form consortiums and develop smart cities; local authorities should also work with private energy network providers to deliver physical infrastructure; and the government must produce a standardised framework for electric vehicle charging equipment, and associated infrastructure upgrade requirements.
These recommendations, Localis believe, will help with the incorporation of new technology, and the drive to greener, smarter transport networks.