£25 billion UK environment boost possible from smart cities


Smart cities could transform the way the UK deals with waste, water and transport and enhance quality of life while saving money.

A new report, Global Market Opportunities and UK Capabilities for future smart cities shows how the smart city industry will by valued at $400 billion globally by 2020 with the UK expected to gain a 10 per cent share (£25 billion).


Intelligent technology is used by smart cities to enhance quality of life in urban environments and can be used to save money, minimise waste, measure domestic water usage and manage transport routes.

By allowing the public to access real time information will enable them to make informed choices that can improve quality of life in cities.

To ensure that the UK does not miss out on the opportunities offered by smart cities, a new Smart Cities Forum has been established chaired by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts and Cities Minister Greg Clark with representatives from cities, business and science.

David Willetts said: “The opportunity to develop new technologies for smart cities in the UK is massive. We want to make sure that we are at the forefront of this digital revolution so we can stay ahead in the global race designing new innovations in the UK and exporting them across the world.

“With around 80 per cent of the UK’s population living in cities, we need to ensure that they are fit for purpose in the digital age. Through our information economy strategy we will support cities to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and save money.”

Arup director and Smart Cities Forum member Volker Busher wrote the report. He said: “By 2050, the human population will have reached 9 billion people with 75 per cent of the world’s inhabitants living in cities. Smart technologies can help address some of the challenges of rapid urbanisation by improving services and managing their efficiency.

“We already have incredible academics and professionals in the UK so we are well equipped to capitalise on this growing market and help create a better environment for us all.”

Cities such as Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow are already involved in developing Smart City projects.   

View the full report at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smart-city-market-uk-opportunities