North West Leicestershire District Council: The use of drones to investigate breaches of planning and environmental regulations.
The project involves the use of drones in numerous planning enforcement and environmental crime cases where access is an issue, including breaches of Tree Preservation Orders, illegal removal of hedgerow and abandoned vehicles. Drones have also proved useful in gathering evidence where visits may be challenging. Since their introduction, the council’s drones have taken more than 187 flights covering 130 miles.
These flights have supported the gathering of evidence for numerous enforcement cases, and the drones have also been used by services across the council, supporting the Council’s ‘one team, one council’ ethos.
Aerial photos have been used across the council, for example, to document the building of the new leisure centre, to capture new images of the Christmas lights in Coalville and aerial images to support corporate documents including the Economic Growth Plan. The drone service has been embraced by all members of staff throughout the authority.
The service is also being offered to neighbouring local authorities to assist them in their investigations.
The project has delivered the following benefits:
Freeing up valuable officer time
Allowing for detailed evidence gathering
Creating a potential source of income for the authority
Effective use of time and money in gathering evidence has meant enforcement cases are investigated and resolved faster, benefitting customers.
Officers are able to quickly gather evidence needed for investigations and make early progress on cases.
Drawing an income for the council, by providing services to neighbouring authorities.