17 May 2022 | Innovation | Our Work

Innovation Festival: Bolton Council to make network available for trials

Bolton Council is the latest local authority to confirm that it is making its highway network available for trials as part of this year’s Local Council Roads Innovation Group’s (LCRIG) Innovation Festival. Here, John Kelly – the council’s Assistant Director (Highways & Engineering) – highlights the importance of innovation. 


Q. Why is innovation so important?

A. “If we don’t innovate we die! Local Government continues to be under pressure financially and competing for skilled resources. In addition many of us have declared climate emergencies and need to demonstrate a strategy to move forward. If we don’t utilise innovation from suppliers and peers we will continue to do what we always have and get what we always did. It didn’t do the dinosaurs much good!”


Q. What do you hope to get out of your participation in the Innovation Festival?

A. “Everyday is a learning day! We all need to keep in touch with what is new, improved or just share where we need to do better. What better way to do it than at this dedicated event?”


Q. In what ways do you plan on working with qualifying innovators and how will you help them?

A. “We’ve worked closely with our contractors and suppliers for many years and have always been open to options. We will continue with that and hope we can jointly develop innovation that the whole sector can benefit from.”


Q. Can you provide any further details of the funding/trials you are making available?

A. “Good opportunities or solutions will result in innovative funding options from us. We can’t put a value on that immediately but will be working hard jointly to get results.”


Q. How can other councils help support and take forward innovative ideas?

A. “Be brave, don’t do what you always have or you will get what you always had. Remember the dinosaurs!”


Applications for qualifying innovators now open

Details of how to apply to be a qualifying innovator at this year’s Innovation Festival have been released by the Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG).

The LCRIG Innovation Festival will be a first of its kind event, giving qualifying innovators the chance to receive funding to develop an innovation or facilitate a trial of their product or solution on a local authority network.

A number of local authorities have committed to making their networks available for trials and a portion of all exhibition space and sponsor sales at the festival will be put into the LCRIG / Steve Berry Innovation Fund, to be distributed to winning innovators, or to contribute to the cost of a trial, for each innovation category.

You can find out more information and register for the event here.



Blackpool Council, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, NY Highways and Reading Borough Council are also making their highway networks available for trials as part of this year’s event.

You can find out what representatives from these local authorities had to say about their involvement here.