The Industry Data for Society Partnership (IDSP) believes that openly available data has a key role to play in addressing societal challenges. In December 2022, the IDSP and the Open Data Institute launched the Data for Local Environments Challenge. We received 47 applications from 24 countries, each seeking to make use of the role publicly available data can play in better understanding how local governments can improve local environments. From these 47 applications, expert evaluators from Microsoft, Open Data Institute and UK Power Networks shortlisted 7 applications to proceed to the next round of the challenge. The evaluation process took into consideration criteria such as the impact of the ideas and their use of open data. The full shortlist of projects is: Supporting Cambridgeshire County Council Maintained Schools’ Achieve Their Net Zero Goals
In 2019, Cambridgeshire County Council declared a Climate and Environment Emergency. In 2022, in line with this declaration, local authorities presented the "Cambridgeshire Net Zero by 2045 emissions Strategy". The strategy describes how they plan to deliver on their commitments and respond to climate change. According to public releases, Cambridgeshire County Council is currently looking for external advice on the best ways to deliver their Net Zero commitments for Highways, Waste and Recycling, Rural Estates, and Schools. Specifically in schools, authorities want to develop a Decarbonisation Plan (DP) that will help them to manage heat decarbonisation of the maintained school estate. ReData is taking this context as inspiration to develop their project. The main goal is to demonstrate how open-source data can support local authorities to reduce the carbon footprint of public institutions’ assets. To exemplify their approach, the team will use the case of schools’ decarbonisation in Cambridgeshire County Council. Using a framework that integrates open data from government sources, UK Power Networks and Microsoft, they aim to help authorities to assess the impact of past actions such as the previous installation of heat pumps in some schools, and propose innovative solutions. While this is not an exhaustive list, the project aims to help authorities to:
- Better understand where local grid constraints would necessitate a new substation to enable the replacement of boilers with heat pumps in schools;
- Maintain schools’ energy usage, costs, and CO2 emissions in relation to external factors such as weather and infrastructure;
- Develop a framework to categorise schools and prioritise actions; and
- Better understand the installation of heat pumps ROI.
Council Climate Action Scorecards Climate Emergency UK (CE UK) is creating the Council Climate Action Scorecards, the first-ever citizen data project that evaluates local government progress towards net zero and identifies the gaps between ambition and actual climate action of all ~400 UK councils. The Scorecards solve the problems identified above by uniting the local climate action movement, creating a one stop shop of data on all the actions councils can take and have taken - rather than the siloed, sector specific data that currently exists. The Scorecards highlight the steps local government can take towards net zero: identifying and using current data sets available to support solutions: creates a data infrastructure that is usable for all and; helps local and national governments publish more open data. Open Data for Local Governments to Reduce Infrastructure Development-Co2 Emissions The Demography Project is an independent youth-led civic technology, citizen science and data journalism non-profit organisation based in Kenya. Infrastracker (portmanteau for infrastructure and tracker) is a proposed project in Kenya that integrates community-centred public participation in transport infrastructure development and open data including Motor Vehicle Registration, GIS and GHG emissions data to support the recently established local/County Governments to reduce carbon emissions and environmental impact during road construction processes. It seeks to incorporate community engagement, evidence-based and innovative technology in public road works infrastructure projects to advance environmental education through citizen science and journalism, monitoring of climate elements, share the findings with the community to build climate resilience in the country; evoke practical environmental awareness amongst road users; build the capacity of the community to use accurate and reliable weather and climate data to counter climate misinformation; and create early warning systems for enhanced resilience against the negative impacts of climate change at our community. Using inclusive open data methodology and modelling as a novel approach towards net zero goals
Open data are expected to play an important role in fighting climate change and reaching net zero objectives. However, little is known about what data to use in local environments, where to access them, and the strategies to benefit from them. A typical example is the widespread and sometimes indiscriminate use of antimicrobials, including antibiotics and pesticides, that has accelerated environmental degradation and propelled the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance, one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. A critical literature review undertaken in this study from a number of net zero strategies of local governments shows net-zero scenarios/strategies that lack the inclusive methodology and support of respective data analysis, weak scenarios to tackle the antibiotic resistance that do not consider the existing open data, tools, cross-sector, cross-border, and game changers analysis. The information is often inaccurate and without guidance on how the actions apply to specific issues. The proposed project demonstrates the potential of an innovative, realistic, and replicable inclusive open data methodology in conjunction with a model that utilises and connects the open data in a unique way to address different local environment issues thus filling an important gap in existing net zero strategy plans and significantly improving the progress on environmental goals. The proposal uses the challenge of antibiotic resistance as a demonstration of how open data could provide a new pathway to address this issue, to confirm their potential to solve other real life problems in local environments. Leveraging Open Data to Enhance Local Environments and Promote Biodiversity
The Nature Recovery Network (NRN) is a UK government policy aimed at protecting and restoring the country's natural environment and biodiversity. This policy aims to create a connected network of habitats that support wildlife, improve ecosystem services, and foster a more resilient environment. Developing green roofs and installing solitary bee environments on roofs or side walls in close proximity to existing natural assets can significantly improve biodiversity and support the expansion of nature networks, such as the B-Lines. Together, green roofs and drilled wood panels can contribute to the B-Lines initiative by creating a network of wildflower-rich habitats that support pollinators and other wildlife. This network of interconnected habitats allows species to move more easily between natural assets, which can help to maintain healthy populations and promote genetic diversity. In turn, this leads to a more resilient ecosystem that can better adapt to environmental pressures such as climate change, habitat loss, and pollution. By enhancing biodiversity within existing natural assets and supporting the expansion of nature networks like B-Lines, local councils and governments can contribute to the NRN's goals of protecting and restoring the UK's natural environment and fostering a more resilient ecosystem. Configuration of local GPPs and emissions, and corresponding financial modulation by local governments
The offsetting of CO2 emissions at micro levels could be one of the biggest steps towards net-zero. Though the fixation of CO2 by vegetation is well known, there is not enough voluntary planting of vegetation. The key to the success of any public goal is to couple it with financial benefits to encourage behavioural change. To help ensure effective environmental practices, these should couple the anticipated practices with public finance. In addition, a generic model of coupling the financial components with the environmental components can be used in policymaking worldwide at various levels of governance. The proposed project facilitates compliance with policymaking, bringing together public finance and environment. It offers several potential solutions towards net zero, one or many of which can be adopted by governments. The core idea of the project is to configure annual emissions and sequestrations within territorial boundaries. They will then assign an index of carbon imbalance to each sub-territory (ward/block/district/province depending on hierarchy of the adopter), and use this index for public financing. For financial relief, people (and sub-governments) would try to reduce the index, by reducing carbon imbalance. Estimated Energy Attribution Certificates linked to Councils
As countries strive to achieve net-zero emissions targets, local authorities play a critical role in driving the adoption and expansion of renewable energy projects. According to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), to stay on track for net zero, the emissions intensity of generating electricity needs to drop from around 200 gCO2/kWh today to around 10 gCO2kWh in 2035. UK Local authorities face several challenges in working towards this goal:
- Insufficient measurement granularity
- Developing Local Area Energy Plans (LAEPs)
- Approving planning for renewable sites
- Fragmented and inconsistent data.
To address these challenges, this project creates Estimated Energy Attribution Certificates (EEACs) that are calculated on a half-hourly basis and tied to individual assets. By combining generation data across UKPN's ECR, BMRS, and REPD datasets, as well as modelling renewable generation using ERA5 data from Microsoft, the total renewable generation in each local authority can be calculated. The implied reduction in emissions can then be estimated based on half-hourly carbon intensity data from the National Grid.
Announcing the winners and judges
The winning projects and judges panel will be announced in the coming week. If you have any questions or need more information, please email [email protected]