Imagine this; the year is 2040, the UK has nearly reduced its carbon footprint to zero, there is an established base on the moon, humans have walked on the surface of Mars and Local Authorities now have the access to daily imaging from satellites over their boroughs. 

Does the last bit sound far fetched? Well perhaps it might not be. The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is seeking bids for proposals on how to use technology to better "monitor" house building and help urban planners. This includes the possible use of satellite imaging.

The stated outcome is to find ways, using technology, to provide Local Authorities and their planning teams with more information and it will be very interesting to see how this plays out. 

For example, what constitutes monitoring? Could it extend to monitoring compliance with planning conditions even after completion of a project? Current guidance suggests it may well eventually end up doing just that:

"The competition aims to investigate how technology could be used to monitor developments of all types, from permission to completion and occupation."  

Cash strapped Local Authorities may struggle to justify the costs involved in using satellite technologies alone but what if the technology was centrally funded? Local Authorities could have access through shared imaging system.