Green light for Slough’s Smart Urban Forest of the Future

Slough Borough Council is set to become the first UK authority to pilot SSE Enterprise’s new Mayflower Smart Cities and Places, as part of the development of its Urban Forest.

Pioneering sensor technology capable of providing real time environmental data will be piloted for the first time in the UK, as part of a project to build an ‘urban forest’ in Slough.

Slough Borough Council will trial next generation technology developed by SSE Enterprise that can help local authorities provide cleaner and greener lives for their citizens.



Mayflower Smart Cities and Places has been developed by SSE Enterprise to provide bespoke people and place data to help build the city of the future.

Slough Borough Council have secured funding from the Urban Tree Challenge to develop an urban forest whose success will depend on data from environmental sensors. This includes soil moisture, root nutrition, sap flow, tree girth and air quality – all of which is analysed by Mayflower Smart Cities and Places.

Stephen Stead, Director of Strategy and Digital Services for SSE Enterprise, said the Slough project was a simple but compelling application of the smart city concept.

He said: “It’s very exciting for us to have the chance to pilot this technology in tandem with Slough Borough Council to help build this unique urban forest. Smart environmental sensors will help trees thrive in urban spaces where their benefit can be felt the most. It’s a simple but smart way to improve the environment.

“We have been working with leading IoT [Internet of Things] and smart service providers to ensure that our Mayflower Smart Cities and Places will provide clients with a complete view of their city, place or environment. We are very much looking forward to this pilot deployment in Slough, and we are looking forward to reporting the findings of the Urban Forest sensors in 2020.”



A spokesperson for Slough Borough Council commented: “The approval of our funding application for the Urban Tree Challenge Fund demonstrates not only our commitment to the Urban Forest, but also the significance of our existing pilot projects.

“Having worked closely with SSE Enterprise and Mayflower to deploy services such as smart street lighting and gully monitoring, we are confident that the Mayflower Smart Platform will provide a complete view of all project deliverables.”

Planting for Slough’s Urban Forest is expected to commence early 2020 with data to be fed into Mayflower Smart Cities and Places shortly after.

Since 2016 Slough Borough Council has been trialling innovative environmental interventions, including salutogenic [anti-stress] planting, flood water recycling and pollination plantations to support wildlife growth and minimise carbon emissions.

Developed by SSE Enterprise, Mayflower Smart Cities and Places addresses broader modern-day local authority challenges such as smart street lighting, reducing carbon emissions, flood prevention and supporting independent living.

Using a combination of LoRa, NB-IoT, Zigbee and cellular communications, the Mayflower Smart Environment will provide support for the widest possible range of smart sensors, devices and applications to be connected into the urban forest and report back environmental data to Slough Borough Council.



Mayflower Smart Cities and Places features a range of capabilities, including interactive mapping with real-time data reporting and external data feeds to support commercialisation.

The platform also includes a smart city App Store, which can be used to integrate existing applications such as smart streetlighting or building management services, whilst also supporting the development of third party localised smart solutions and applications.

By reporting data into Mayflower’s Smart Environment, the Slough Urban Forest project will be able to project five, 10, 20-year canopy growth patterns and determine how the planting of additional trees can benefit the quality of life for Slough residents.

Other objectives for the Urban Forest include:

  • Flood water attenuation in potential risk areas
  • Increase of biodiversity for both flora and fauna in the borough
  • Reduce air pollution levels in both residential and busy vehicle routes

Reduce Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect in residential areas.

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