Richmond Council have touted a new trial scheme they are helping introduce to the borough they say could help solve persistent congestion issues.

Some 151 'smart' parking bay sensors will be installed across the borough’s town centres during the course of the one-year the scheme, a council spokesperson said on Thursday (November 4).

The scheme forms part of the wider South London Partnership's digital tech project 'InnOvvaTe' that touts interconnectivity and the 'Internet of Things' approach to governance in the region, using digital data to help address problems from air pollution to fly-tipping.

The sensors will link up with the RingGo app (already used by some residents for pay and display parking), allowing drivers to quickly identify available parking spaces (where sensors are installed).

"This will help alleviate congestion from vehicles not having to drive around searching for available space, which will in turn help to improve air quality," a spokesperson for the council said. "All sensors are designed to provide accurate data on road, pavement and parkineeeg usage in a completely anonymous way. They do not collect personal data, and the technology cannot be used to gather any kind of personal data," they added.

The Greater London Authority previously found that congestion in Richmond was closely linked with air pollution and the health and environmental dangers that posed. One section from a study produced by the authority read: "Air quality on London greenways (safe, quiet routes through parks, green spaces and lightly trafficked streets) was significantly better than on adjacent busy roads... Congestion is also strongly associated with air pollution, with pollutant levels generally higher inside vehicles than in ambient air."

To this end, Cllr Alexander Ehmann, who chairs the transport and air pollution committee on Richmond Council, expressed his excitement at the imminent introduction of the parking sensor scheme.

"Smart technologies are playing an ever more central role in the delivery of Council services and I’m really excited that Richmond will be at the forefront of local authorities using better data to make decisions," he said. "The trial results will help us to monitor local parking habits and contribute meaningful data on which future decisions of the Council can be based."