North East campaigner’s company heads fight to reduce air pollution in big cities

August 24, 2017

A North East company formed by a well-known campaigner is playing a key role in reducing air pollution after developing cutting-edge technology that is attracting interest in a number of big cities.

Sunderland -based company Grid Smarter Cities, which is run by former Metric Martyrs and parking campaigner Neil Herron, has developed its Kerb Virtual Parking Bay Solution (Kerb VPS) project which uses innovative technology that allows delivery companies and hauliers to pay for timeslots to load or unload on restricted inner city streets.

The project is being rolled out in London as part of the UK’s move towards cleaner cities, giving local authorities the ability to improve traffic flow and reduce nitrogen oxide levels by better managing delivery vehicles.

Grid has also developed various other technologies which aim to push the concept of smarter cities by giving people living and working in cities access a more interconnected environment.

The company’s technology has recently seen it ranked 15th in the Intellectual Property League Table 2017, which rates the UK’s most innovative firms, and has also seen it attract investment of £500,000, bringing the total it has received over the past three years to £1.8m.

Mr Herron said: “Virtual loading bays and intelligent management of inner city kerb space are key tools in the fight to reduce city air pollution and we are delighted that they are mentioned directly in the Air Quality Action Plan recently published by the London mayor.

“The roll out of Kerb VPS technology will help London’s boroughs directly manage their air quality by deciding on the fee and the locations to be used to prioritise low-emission vehicles, encourage activity in off-peak periods and improve traffic flow.”

Grid’s latest round of investment was secured with help from Newcastle law firm Square One and accountants RMT.

John Hammill, corporate partner at Square One Law, said: “Having worked with Grid Smarter Cities for the past four years we have seen growing interest from investors who have been impressed by its team’s well executed approach to complex issues within areas such as rail, fuel and freight optimization.

“This latest round of fundraising will play an important role proving the benefits of Kerb VPS solution through detailed data and operational analysis for dissemination into the wider marketplace both in the UK and internationally.”

Stephen Slater, director of commercial services at RMT, said: “Proactive management of our cities is an essential component of reducing traffic congestion and pollution levels, and Kerb VPS offers a flexible, efficient way of achieving these goals.

“The confidence this latest investment expresses in the system’s potential is clear, and we’re excited to be playing our part in facilitating the wider implementation of technology developed here in the North East”


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