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Harrow Council takes to the skies in battle against 'beds in sheds'

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Harrow Council takes to the skies in battle against 'beds in sheds'

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government

Harrow Council takes to the skies in battle against 'beds in sheds' Harrow Council takes to the skies in battle against 'beds in sheds'

Harrow Council is taking to the skies and using thermal imaging technology to tackle the borough's growing 'beds in sheds' problem.

Accurate thermal images are combined with detailed laser scanning (LiDAR) measurements to give staff at Harrow Council a much better understanding of where unpermitted developments may have been erected and the number of people living in them - identified as 'hot spots' on the mapping software.

Supplied by aerial mapping company Bluesky, the data is being combined with additional council information such as waste collection, parking permits and noise complaints, as part of the government-funded ‘Hot Harrow’ project.

In addition to 'beds in sheds', the hot spot data can also be used to locate cannabis factories or examine a property's energy efficiency.

Hot spots’ in the data may also indicate illegal dwellings requiring further investigation and have already uncovered a number of cannabis factories.

Matt Pennells, senior GI officer and web and GIS project manager at Harrow Council, explained: “The combination of thermal survey data, LiDAR, Council information and additional intelligence from third parties gives us a truly holistic picture of the borough.

“While ‘beds in sheds’ is a serious and growing issue there are a number of other applications of this intelligence. The Bluesky data will feed into energy efficiency improvement projects and helps us tackle fuel poverty and the LiDAR data will be used for flood modelling and 3D visualisations.

“The ‘Hot Harrow’ project with funding from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills will also allow us to develop models and working practices to share these valuable resources with residents and businesses, opening up a host of other application areas."

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