Environment Agency – think great thoughts!

We had a first visit from Neil Suffield of the Environment Agency. The reason for the visit was to look at possibilities for “horizon scanning” which he talked over with Enrico. However, you will see from the following that there may be a lot of potential here.

Please keep Enrico, Peter and me in the loop if you do have a bright idea for collaboration.

Neil says “please feel free to contact me at any time should any information or projects arise that you think we would be interested in. My initial thoughts suggest the presentation of our environmental information targeted to our various audiences (eg farmers). There may also be a potential need to support collaborative work within the spatially distributed members of the Science Group”

Here is the info that he left with us:

Science Group Objectives

To define the Agency&#39s science strategy, and develop, manage and deliver a programme of scientific research across the Agency&#39s areas of responsibility.
To ensure that the information, tools and techniques generated by science are taken up and used by Policy, Process and Operations.
To build and maintain a good reputation for Agency science internally and externally.
To underpin the Agency&#39s strategies and policies for protecting and managing the environment.
To strengthen the Agency as a key influence in the environmental science agenda in the UK and abroad.

Role of Technology Group


The purpose of the Monitoring team is to strategically develop monitoring techniques for air, land and water to both meet current needs and to measure future pressures on the environment. The team aims to integrate various forms of data (e.g. point source, spatial, temporal and continuously monitored data) to describe the environment as one system from the top of the catchment to the near shore coastal boundary. With an accurately described environment, we can develop techniques to distribute data to decision-makers in real time.

The Monitoring team will split its efforts over three areas:
Instrumental Development: to address the electronics and communication capabilities of new instruments.
Environmental Projects: to take the new instruments and produce operational tools.
Remote Sensing: to operate the remote sensing platform (including LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and CASI (Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imager)) to produce products for use by the Agency.
Data Analysis and Application Development

Environmental, scientific and socioeconomic data must be integrated and applied in order to be effective for environmental management. The Data Analysis and Application Development team will devise new and innovative methods of assembling data and applying modelling and GIS techniques in an integrated fashion to gain a holistic understanding of the environment and improve the efficiency of the Agency&#39s response to business problems. The team will broaden our knowledge of the environment by integrating internal and external data with GIS techniques that combine many different layers of spatial and temporal data and developing modelling techniques that extract useful information from the data.

Horizon Scanning

To safeguard the environment, we need to be aware of what will impact the future as well as react to incidents as they occur. Horizon Scanning will predict potential environmental and scientific issues over a 3 to 10 year timescale. These predictions will allow the Agency to develop appropriate forward-looking policies and improve environmental performance. The team will use business intelligence techniques, information gathering tools (such as the world wide web and data mining techniques) to develop a balanced viewpoint on forthcoming issues.

The Horizon Scanning team will prepare for new risks and opportunities in the areas of air, land and water and continue the work on the development of innovative internet applications. The Horizon Scanning scientists will also work together to address the cross-disciplinary issues that will shape our future, such as climate change.


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