Environmental & decarbonisation

Improving the city’s environment is a great way to improve the well being of residents and visitors to Sunderland. Decarbonising the environment is also crucial to all our futures.  We are already building out a network of connected specialist sensors to provide real-time insights across the city. This city data will enable informed improvement actions to be taken. Our current list of environmental solutions, continues to grow and includes: air quality, waste management, winter gritting and rainfall monitoring.   We are also trialling solutions to improve energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint for various buildings across the city.

Air quality

We’ve already deployed over 30 air quality sensors around our smart city. These sensors feed data into our smart data Platform through connection to our LoRaWAN network. The air quality data can be used to improve awareness of public health, reduce pollution, inform policy development, and make our city more sustainable.

Waste management

Following 2022’s trial of smart compactor bins across the city, our Smart City team is commencing a new trial to continuously improve the monitoring and management of waste collection. This new pilot will entail retrofitting sensors to existing shroud bins across parts of Sunderland. Data from these sensors will be input into our smart data platform, for the council’s teams to assess. The data from the bin fill sensors will inform resource allocation and bin collection route optimisation, thereby enabling more effective scheduling for the emptying of bins. Through maximising resource utilisation and minimising unnecessary journeys, Sunderland City Council will save time and fuel.

Winter gritting

Ten new additional state-of-the-art infra-red (IR) temperature sensors are in the final phase of exhaustive testing across a variety of locations around Sunderland, to provide additional detailed forecast data to better inform the city’s winter maintenance team.

The data derived from the ten new IR road temperature sensors, in addition to the city’s three existing advanced weather stations, is already enhancing the data-led assessment of road surface conditions. In particular, this smart initiative is providing a far greater understanding of the coldest locations across Sunderland’s priority and secondary road network, paving the way to more effective monitoring and future planning.

Rainfall monitoring

Until recently, the team at Sunderland City Council collected rainfall data by visiting rainfall bucket sites and manually exporting historic rainfall data.

The Sunderland Smart City team has deployed two solar powered rainfall buckets to measure rain levels around our city of Sunderland. Connected via our smart LoRaWAN network, these newly deployed devices record and share rainfall data every 15 minutes.

The real-time rainfall data from our newly deployed devices is combined with DEFRA data and fed into our smart data Platform, where users can view rainfall trends over time and use 3D mapping tools for flood modelling. This informs understanding of storm frequencies and enables understand flooding in the south of the city and the Coalfields. By supporting teams to understand rainfall in near real-time, proactive warnings and interventions can be enabled.


Further details on these solutions can be found on our Innovation Challenges page.


For more information on how our networks and solutions could benefit your organisation, please contact us using our contact form. We would be delighted to discuss how our smart city capabilities can support you.