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Forth Valley to be turned into a ‘living laboratory’

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Environmental recovery project, which will turn Forth Valley into a ‘living laboratory’, launched today at global climate summit COP26.

Directed by the University of Stirling, the Forth Environmental Resilience Array (Forth-ERA) will use state of the art technology to gather environmental data and use it to push clean growth and support in its transition to net zero.

This technology can collect key information on water quality and quantity.

The technology being used includes sensors, satellites, artificial intelligence and digital fabric such as 5G to monitor the Firth of Forth catchment instantaneously.

Communities, agencies, businesses and organisations will be able to access the data collected to help support decision making, create new jobs and support new infrastructures required for a net zero economy.

The project is being funded by through the £214 million City Region Deal between Stirling and Clackmannanshire. Alongside this, the University of Stirling is “driving productivity and inclusive growth across Forth Valley, and beyond”.

Credit: Jeff Holmes. Professor Andrew Tyler holding Forth-ERA multi-sensor equipment.

Leading the project is Professor Andrew Tyler. Tyler is both Scotland Hydro Nation Chair as well as academic Director of Scotland’s International Environment Centre at the University of Stirling.

Tyler said: “We are already feeling the effects of climate change through water, in flood and drought, but water offers solutions too, in resilience to extreme events, and in carbon capture an emissions reduction.”

“Forth-ERA will provide a platform for green economic recovery by providing business, industry and regulators with access to live data, analytics, and dynamic monitoring capabilities, helping to inform agile decision making and an informed approach to cleaner, greener ways of working.”

Organisations already working with Forth-ERA include BT, The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), Scottish Water and drinks giant Diageo. Each organisation is working with Forth-ERA in different ways.

Credit: Jelf Holmes

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency is working on uses of technology with Forth-ERA.

Chief Executive Terry A’Hearn said: 

“The climate emergency is accelerating and there is a real urgency to act. With the eyes of the world on Scotland for COP26, this collaborative innovation work through Forth-ERA is a hugely exciting initiative that brings together organisations, including SEPA and our Leven Programme Partnership, from across the public, private and academic sectors to tackle real life environmental challenges affecting the Forth Catchment.”

“The data being produced through Forth-ERA is offering a unique perspective into the intricate relationships between water and its use or impact on multiple scales. The additional information and collaboration the project fosters will help us to maximise environmental solutions for an increasingly volatile climate.”

Forth-ERA is a flagship project of Scotland’s International Environment Centre at the University of Stirling. The project is funded by the UK and Scottish Government as part of the City Regional Deal and with additional funding from private investments.

The Centre brings together academic researchers and external partners from industry, government, regulators and regional stakeholders.

Feature Image Credit: University of Stirling

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