Find out more about what we have done already to reduce our mileage.
Saving energy; keeping things moving
We own a lot of assets around the country that make sure our rivers are kept healthy and free flowing, protecting the environment and preventing flooding wherever we can.
We have to go out to sites to inspect these various installations and pieces of equipment, to make sure they’re still doing their job.
Going with the flow
We used to spend a lot of time and mileage manually checking the screens we put into streams to catch weeds.
These screens catch weeds and other debris, and this can accumulate and cause a blockage when there is heavy rainfall. The blocked up screens can cause or exacerbate flooding, so it’s important we keep them clear at all times, especially if there’s been heavy rain.
In the past the only way to check was to drive out to site and have a look to see if the screens were blocked. This took time and meant we drove a lot to each of our hundreds of sites.
In our Anglian region typically we’d need to travel 60 miles once a week
just to carry out a routine inspection of one screen.
During a flood event the screens would need to be checked around three times a day for blockages; around 180 miles a day. A flood event typically lasts 3-5 days, which all adds up to make our total inspection journey 540-900 miles
Webcams to the rescue
So we came up with a novel solution. We put webcams in 15 trial sites in the South West and our Anglian regions to monitor the screens 24 hours a day, so now we can now check them from the office, or even remotely from a Duty Officer's home.
Because blockages and floods can happen at any time, the cameras even have an infra red setting so we can see at night. This means we:
- only have to intervene when we know we have a problem to fix
- can stop problems earlier
- can react quicker if there’s heavy rain or flooding
- free up our people’s time so they can spend more time on doing other things for the environment
- have reduced our mileage to site significantly now that we only make the journeys we have to
- are saving a lot of mileage – if we cut out just one typical screen’s normal inspection routine by installing a webcam, we’ll save 3000-5000 miles per year
And another thing…
Where we have screens in very remote locations where we can’t install all the CCTV cabling we’d usually use to get the images back to the office, we use solar power to provide a power supply and then use mobile phone links to get data back to the office.
We think this is a great example of thinking differently about our transport impacts
as we’ve come up with a more efficient way of working that also manages to save us carbon. We hope to be able to extend the trial and install more webcams for similar assets in the future.