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Laser scanning tackles waste crime

london colour

The Environment Agency (EA) is extending the use of aircraft equipped with laser scanners to map the entire landscape of England by 2020 in a move which will help it to tackle waste crime.

The technology, which assesses flood risk and informs conservation work, was used in 2014 to spot illegal waste dumping in Cornwall, leading to the sentencing of eight people. These EA photos show the results.

About 75% of the country is mapped but with only sporadic coverage of upland areas. The new project will cover all of England’s national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and sites of special scientific interest, such as the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales.

The EA has been using light detection and ranging technology for 20 years to better understand flood risk. The laser scanners measure the distance between the aeroplane and the ground.

The new data will map England to 1m resolution by 2020, better quality than is currently the case.

The data will also be made available for free to the public and industry to be used by archaeologists, environmental and urban planners to make accurate 3D models of the landscape. 

Sir James Bevan, EA chief executive, said: “This ambitious project will enhance our understanding of England’s unique natural features and landscape, helping us to better understand flood risk, plan effective defences and fight waste crime. It’s just one of the many ways the Environment Agency is using technology to help people and wildlife.”

ea laser mapping1

ea laser mapping1

Source: Environment Agency

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