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Sutton Council to introduce modern ways of monitoring local parks

Image of Grove Park

Published Thursday, 23rd September 2021

Sutton Council will partner with Internet of Things (IoT) company North to monitor the parks’ usage and help support the management of its facilities.

The 89 parks across the London Borough of Sutton have been a lifeline for many residents since the start of the pandemic; whether that has been to use for exercise, to get fresh air or to improve their mental wellbeing.

However, the increased usage has brought with it consequences, including additional rubbish being left and growing pressure on the parks’ facilities. 

The Council, as part of the South London Partnership’s InnOvaTe Project, will be using North’s IoT sensor technology to measure the current number of people using the parks and the timing of visits. 

Seven parks will be monitored as part of the project to help determine if the local community are getting best use out of their local green space, if investment is needed and if the pandemic has shifted trends in local park usage. 

This will enable the parks’ officers to plan and respond accordingly; for example, it could help to identify and prioritise cleaning and bin emptying at busy locations, as well as the introduction of other safety measures, such as additional signage to remind people to use the borough’s parks responsibly.

Parks where the technology will be located are Sutton’s Manor Park, The Grove in Carshalton (pictured), Cheam Recreation Ground, Collingwood Recreation Ground,  Cuddington Recreation Ground, Sutton Common Park and Carshalton Park.

We are working in close consultation with North to review footfall data from 30 key points of interest around the parks, including entrance points and access to playgrounds within the park, giving insight into whether the green spaces meet the needs of local people. 

This project is an example of how IoT technology can be used to improve local communities, with smart data used to track trends in the area, meet the needs of the community, and ensure the safety of residents. 

The sensors do not collect personal data, but will be used to identify how busy the parks are throughout the year.

Councillor Manuel Abellan, Chair of the Environment & Sustainable Transport Committee at Sutton Council, said: 

“Sutton’s parks have benefitted so many residents during these difficult times and continue to do so. This is why I’m excited for us to be trialling this technology to make the parks and facilities as clean and safe as they can be.

“By using this technology it will help us to find out the true number of visitors using our parks and will enable us to act accordingly, continuing our commitment to and vision of being a green borough.”
 

Mark Lowe, Business Development Director at North, said: 

“The pilot project demonstrates an excellent example of how smart IoT technology can be used to transform the evolving needs of our local areas and communities. Using technology and data to improve local green spaces for those living nearby. 

“We are thrilled to be working with Sutton Council to deliver this innovative IoT solution to enhance the local area.” 
 

About the InnOvaTe Project
South London Partnership is working with London Councils to deliver an exciting and innovative “Internet of Things” (IoT) project across the five south London Councils of Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton.
 
This initiative is funded by the Strategic Investment Pot (SIP) as part of the London Councils Business Rates Retention scheme which is administered by the City of London Corporation, and hopes to improve people’s lives through the delivery of a multi-purpose Internet of Things (IoT) platform, which will connect various sensors across borough boundaries.
 
The project is led by Sutton Council, which was selected to oversee the project on behalf of the other boroughs.

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