Councillors have heard how pioneering plans for a multi-million pound upgrade of the City of Edinburgh Council’s CCTV service have successfully secured funding from the ERDF.
At an online meeting of the Policy and Sustainability Committee on Thursday (23 July), elected members welcomed progress which is being made towards creating a truly smart, integrated approach to monitoring incidents in the Capital to support community safety. As the project moves forward a timeline has been developed for carrying out upgrades, which will see £1,068,000 of Council investment supported by a £712,000 funding boost from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF.)
Immediate steps will include appointing a contractor to install 13 state of the art cameras at Saughton Park - with a direct link up to the Council’s Central Monitoring Facility at the City Chambers - to protect the £8 million refurbishment of the eco-powered greenspace. This will help to preserve the peak condition of the park and deter antisocial behaviour.
The Public Realm CCTV project forms part of Edinburgh’s highly ambitious Smart Cities initiative, which aims to embrace world leading technology to support residents, manage Council systems and buildings to make them more citizen-centric, and to vastly improve digital connectivity across the Capital. As part of this work, officers are exploring CCTV upgrades alongside the use of smart traffic management solutions, cashless systems, the roll out of fibre and 5G and innovative digital learning opportunities in schools. Work is continuing on waste and housing sensors, which is also set to benefit from ERDF funding with close to £1,257,000 pledged to the Council for this scheme.
Depute Leader Cammy Day is the City of Edinburgh Council’s Smart Cities lead. He said: "We have a vision for a smart city here in Edinburgh and projects like this will significantly improve our systems, making them more sustainable, joined up and fit for the 21st century.
“Particularly as our city grows, CCTV is a going to be a key tool to support the safety of the public and wider community, deterring and preventing anti-social behaviour and crime. The wellbeing of our communities is of the utmost importance and a smarter camera system will help us make sure that residents and visitors are well cared for, and that our local communities are supported and kept safe, for many years to come.
“I’m pleased to see such a significant amount of European funding directed towards this scheme and others which form part of our developing Smart City programme. This is a major project for Edinburgh and I want to thank the officers involved. This work is really stepping up our capabilities as a city, leveraging our strengths in data driven innovation and the creation of intelligent, state of the art systems. Edinburgh is fast becoming an example of a truly smart city.”
Council Leader, Adam McVey, added: “This project and the additional funding comes at a pivotal point in Edinburgh’s shift towards becoming a more sustainable and inclusive City. It’s about future proofing our services, making the very best use of new technologies as far as we possibly can.
“The last few months have really emphasised the benefits of digital connectivity for us as a Council but also for thousands of businesses and households across the city. Smart technologies can help us to create more efficient Council services for the people of Edinburgh and can also help us to stay safe. You can see the impact this will make on the ground in areas like Saughton Park which will help us keep the park a safe, welcoming place for individuals and families. The multi-million pound investment into the park has given the City a truly amazing asset we are rightly proud of and it’s important we ensure all the work is secured.”