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A new digital platform will reveal the environmental impact of proposed developments in St Albans

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire, business consultancy Prōject (EU), and St Albans City & District Council are teaming up to create a new tool that gives local people better insight into the environmental impact of developments in their area.

The City Net Zero Tool (CINT) project aims to develop a digital platform that will enable the local community to engage with proposed changes to their urban landscape – offering insight into the impact that a new development could have on carbon emissions and other environmental factors.

The project brings together expertise in data analysis, data visualisation and urban planning to empower individuals to understand and influence net zero targets in their local area, and maximise sustainability and decarbonisation in new developments.

Initial work is now taking place to understand the carbon data currently available, and how it can be adapted into a user-friendly tool that allows people to envisage the carbon impact in an accessible way.

Councillor Chris White, Leader of St Albans City and District Council, explained why the council are keen to create a public-facing platform: “Tackling the climate emergency is our top priority and we are working towards making the District carbon neutral by 2030.

“To achieve that goal we need the support of our residents, and this exciting project that we have embarked on with our partner organisations will help them to become more involved. Our residents will be able to use this tool to assess the environmental impact of developments in their neighbourhood to get a better understanding of the decarbonisation challenges that we are all faced with.”

 

Associate Professor Silvio Carta, lead researcher on the project for the University of Hertfordshire, also welcomes the opportunity to increase public understanding: “It’s important that communities understand how net zero targets can be achieved in their local area, and what this looks like in practice. New buildings in urban areas aren’t necessarily a bad thing for the environment; by providing people with accurate data in a really accessible tool, they are able to see for themselves the impact that a proposed project would have, and engage in important conversations around sustainable planning for their home town”.

“We are pleased to be involved in the CINT project,” commented Marc McGurk, Director at Prōject (EU). “It allows us to utilise our experience in data analysis and data visualisation, together with our growing carbon knowledge. The result of this project will make a difference to how local communities engage with their environs”.

 

4 Jul 2022 by Anna Hutton-North

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