Newcastle Council bosses give green light for city to become world leader in digital technology

Plans for a technological revolution on Tyneside have been approved by Newcastle City Council.

Newcastle can become a ‘world leader’ in using digital technology to transform a city, council chiefs have claimed.

The city council’s cabinet approved bold plans for a technological revolution on Tyneside on Monday night, pledging to use digital sensors and data to revolutionise the way it deals with problems like parking and air pollution.

Local authority bosses say they are eagerly awaiting the results of a trial programme with tech giant Cisco on Mosley Street during the Great Exhibition of the North, and will now seek to procure a tech partner to roll out similar data-collecting infrastructure across the city.

Council leader Nick Forbes said: “Being a smart city and a digital city is not just about having jobs in the tech sector. It is about how we use that to drive forward with new innovations, new ways of tackling old problems, and new ways of connecting people to each other and the city they love.

“This is an exciting journey for Newcastle and I know that we are very keen to build on the work from the Great Exhibition of the North to do more and position Newcastle as a world leader in how digital services and big data can transform a city.

“It feels to me that we are the right size city to be able to do this innovative work.”

A report to the cabinet stated that the council plans to further develop and use smart technology to support the vulnerable in their homes, solve parking problems in the city, manage the city’s traffic to ease congestion, improve air quality, and improve council services through the use of sensors and data.

Councillors were told that Newcastle is the only place in the UK, with the possible exception of Hull, to pursue such a digital strategy.

Deputy council leader Joyce McCarty said that, while efforts to become a ‘smart city’ may sound like jargon, a ‘step change’ in how the city works is needed.

She added: “We’re pursuing our vision to be a pioneering city and accelerating our digital revolution.

“We have the foundations in place but I believe there is more we can do to go further, faster and more dynamically.

“That is why we will develop a technological partnership with an organisation to help achieve our ambitions.

“By building stronger collaboration between business, university research and public services, we can harness the power of technology and data to better design services and make the city work better for everyone.”

 

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