Railscape awarded share of £9million funding by DfT First of a Kind rail innovation programme.
Railscape is pleased to announce that we have been awarded funding by the Department for Transport, in partnership with Innovate UK, as part of the First of a Kind (FOAK) Competition 2021. The aim of the competition is to demonstrate innovations to stakeholders and railway customers in a representative railway environment. Railscape’s winning innovation is one of 30 ground- breaking projects awarded a share of the £9million fund, following a competitive bid process.
Now in its fifth annual round, the competition is open to inventors from across the UK, with this year’s focus aimed at making the railways cleaner, greener and more passenger friendly.Railscape is incredibly thrilled by the news and looks forward to working with Innovate UK, UK regulators and key stakeholders on its ground-breaking project:
Non- Native Invasive Species Vegetation Control for Rail: Herbidrone UAPS
“Drone delivered herbicide application for difficult to reach non-native invasive species of vegetation (e.g., buddleia on brickwork) on critical infrastructure (e.g., bridges, retaining walls, embankments, cuttings and tunnel entrances) to reduce work at height and/or near live tracks.”
James Brennan, Director, Railscape said:
“Non-native invasive plant species are a significant threat to biodiversity, many species covered by legal control. In addition to this expensive regulatory burden, these species are primary causes of damage to critical rail infrastructure by destructively growing into the brick and stone structures prevalent in UK rail, much of which was built in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Current mitigation mainly involves personnel working at height, frequently from ropes, near the running rail. We aim to improve safety for workers and passengers – as well delivering a greener railway – by demonstrating successful deployment of our unique technology, which we are proud to have developed entirely within the company.”
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said:
“I am delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 First of a Kind competition. These winners will hopefully play a role putting passengers at the centre of our railways as we build back better from Covid-19.
“The competition always throws up surprises and the ideas shown today could transform how we travel in future.”
Simon Edmonds, Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Business Officer, Innovate UK, said:
"As we move ever closer to getting past the pandemic, passengers are returning to the railway. To give them ever greater confidence that rail is safe and sustainable we called upon UK innovators to come up with fresh ideas. Yet again the response has been fantastic. Not only will passengers benefit from these great innovations, but business prospects are bright in this sector too.”