The aim of this project is to develop a geographically-based decision-making tool, which will enable early identification of the environmental impacts of sectoral activities to ensure that Circular Economy design is central to planning processes. The tool takes into account the uncertainty in the process of decision making process and provides flexibility while answering specific sustainable development questions relevant to Orkney in the next decade.
Ambitious targets have been set for the delivery of Net Zero Carbon in the Orkney islands by 2030. Sectors with big footprints in Orkney include Transport, Housing, Agriculture, Fisheries and Tourism. In order to reach these targets significant behavioural changes must be made by Orkney residents and visitors regarding their use of resources and services. Development of tools which can visualise the changes and communicate the process in a transparent way are needed. This tool will be used to educate, interact, and modified by the society through visualisation and public engagement. This is a key element to the decarbonisation process.
Orkney is the choice for this case study approach to design of the tool because it represents a discrete geographical region, with substantial datasets available across some of the sectors already. This makes it a tractable proposition for building the tool and testing it out. The project would also sit alongside other major projects in decarbonisation including the UKRI ReFLEX project (http://www.emec.org.uk/ukri-gives-green-light-to-reflex-orkney-project-2/). Funded by UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, ReFLEX Orkney is aiming to integrate electricity, transport and heat networks in Orkney using advanced software to balance demand and supply. The pioneering project is helping Orkney maximise the potential of its renewable production capabilities and reduce the county’s carbon footprint by decreasing reliance on imported carbon-intensive grid electricity from the UK mainland.
The tool will be developed from the RADDMAP Geospatial Information System (GIS) database system of Aquatera Ltd, with significant developments by the student to incorporate a dashboard for promoting interaction with stakeholders and for supporting members of the public wishing to change their behaviour to promote reduction of emissions across the sectors. While receiving input and modification through mutual interactions with stakeholders may add to the bias of the results of the tool, the tool can consider and act to debias data, and deal with uncertainty of the inputs.
The tool will be designed and piloted for the Orkney region. If successful it can be replicated via linkage with the Net Zero Carbon Centre based at Orkney Research and Innovation Campus in Stromness, which forms part of the UK and Scottish Government funded Islands Growth Deal funding (https://www.gov.scot/news/gbp-50-million-for-islands/). Opportunities for replication for the tool would exist across to the Western Isles and to Shetland through the collaboration of the stakeholders engaged in the consortium. Ultimately the tool could be implemented beyond the Islands at a national and international level.
1. What is the geospatial distribution of cumulative carbon emissions across sectors in the Orkney region?
2. What is the geospatial distribution of carbon sinks across the Orkney region from terrestrial and marine biospheres? In this context, the project will consider carbon sources as well as carbon sinks in order to evaluate correctly net fluxes.
3. How effective are the geovisualisations in supporting decision making to promote Circular Economy across the regional sectoral interests?
4. How effective are the geovisualisations in supporting decision making to reduce carbon emissions and promote carbon sequestration and storage across the regional terrestrial and marine biospheres?
5. how geospatial uncertainties (including positional and thematic inaccuracies) and biases will change the results?
6. How effective are the quality assurance measures for the SDSS (Spatial Decision Support System) tool?