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Hello Lamp Post

Exmouth 3 (5)

The Environment Agency has a responsibility to protect communities from flood and coastal risks. In the past, the agency has struggled to scale their public engagement and reach their diverse audiences, while also retaining a local relevance. Hello Lamp Post was brought on to provide an interactive, live 24/7 conversational channel to educate and inform the public on flood safety, in high-risk locations around the South West of England and Newcastle.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

The Environment Agency’s digital engagement collaboration with Hello Lamp Post encourages people within the community to connect with their environment in new and exciting ways. By using Hello Lamp Post, the Environment Agency benefits from using digital innovation to engage with wide audiences for hyper local conversations. Ultimately, we’re working together to inform, educate and listen to the communities impacted by the Environment Agency’s projects.

The Environment Agency initially piloted this community engagement tool in five locations across Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, with a second pilot in the North East, after seeing various other work from Hello Lamp Post (they’ve deployed in 50+ locations around the world supporting any sector, any community, any time). These pilots helped the Environment Agency to demonstrate ‘proof of concept’ to support a business case to continue to invest in these capabilities. Following the success of these pilots and a compelling business case, the Environment Agency is now moving forward with a national contract.

Why are the Environment Agency doing this? The pandemic forced the Environment Agency to innovate when they couldn’t continue their in-person outreach work. Their collaboration with Hello Lamp Post enabled them to continue their priority engagement activities in a Covid-safe way: with the added value of playful, interactive, instant, friendly and inclusive engagement too.

In finding the solution for engagement throughout the pandemic, the Environment Agency found the Hello Lamp Post engagement to have a higher impact than their more traditional forms of engagement pre-pandemic. They’re reaching more people with fewer resources.

The pilot sites varied from natural flood management to large capital schemes. Across the pilot areas the Environment Agency had a range of objectives:

  • To gain community feedback prior to project spend starting
  • To raise flood awareness and promote flood preparedness
  • To discuss returning to normal after construction completion and encouraging residents to take action to understand their residual risks
  • To explore non-FCERM benefits
  • To start a conversation about future risks and change
  • To reduce their carbon footprint

This community insight is helping shape how the Environment Agency proceeds in their pilot communities. Hello Lamp Post also gives the Environment Agency the opportunity to share information and take action, in a less resource intensive way than traditional in-person engagement.

The key outputs from the pilot locations include:

  • Cost saving across engagement - equivalent reach to 40 ‘traditional’ events (so far)
  • Carbon saving - 4.93 tonnes (and rising)
  • Increased awareness for behaviour change campaigns
  • Increased audience engagement and reach
  • Net new public sentiment/opinion data
  • Outputs informing future comms/campaigns
  • AI Innovation of the Year - Top 3 Finalist in the Digital Leaders 100 Awards
  • Digital Public Service Innovation of the Year - Finalist in the Digital Leaders 100 Awards

So, what’s the solution?

  • Hello Lamp Post has ‘brought to life’ flood gates, tidal defences, and other infrastructure across the country.
  • By making these flood objects and spaces interactive, the Environment Agency is able to educate residents on how the defences work, gather insights and invite residents to sign up for flood alerts/ prepare for flooding - all by scanning a QR code and interacting via their mobile phone.
  • Residents can engage directly in a two-way text message conversation, which is then anonymously shared back with the Environment Agency.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

Hello Lamp Post is the first-ever on street engagement platform that can facilitate active, two way conversations between people and objects. Using artificial intelligence, the Environment Agency is able to:

Save Time and Reduce Costs

  • Get back the time their team are losing from responding to common queries or trying to collect feedback.
  • The most cost-effective way to chat 1:1 with people

Improve Community Relations

  • The Environment Agency can build a rapport with their local community and improve satisfaction in local areas

More Inclusive

  • The Environment Agency can reach a broader, more diverse and under-represented audience
  • Hello Lamp Post offers a familiar technology for both younger and older people

Live 24-7, Everywhere

  • Always present to engage with the Environment Agency’s local community – day or night, rain or shine
  • The Environment Agency can view incoming feedback in real-time

What is the current status of your innovation?

The Environment Agency first launched Hello Lamp Post during the pandemic in Devon and Cornwall, to help customers:

  • Understand new FCRM projects and strategies that were in delivery or development
  • Prepare for residual flood risk and tell us how satisfied they are with new defences

The most recent projects to go live are in East Budleigh where people can find out more about the Lower Otter Restoration Project and in Newcastle to mark the 10th anniversary of ‘Thunder Thursday. Plans are underway to roll this out nationally to fulfil broader Environment Agency engagement objectives – often in collaboration with delivery partners like the Department for Education.

Success stories to date…

  • Media Coverage across all live deployments
  • Finalist in two categories at the Digital Leaders 100 Awards.
  • Successful experience at Flood and Coast Conference
  • Promotional video via Microsoft

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

  • Citizens: Net new data (insights and sentiment) on flood resilience, who is at risk of flooding and who has signed up to flood warnings
  • South West Water: To support their campaign - Plastic Free July 2022. Residents can learn the simple actions they can take to tackle plastic pollution in their day to day life.
  • Newcastle University & Newcastle City Council: Working with the council to communicate the impacts of Thunder Thursday and the University to share more information with students.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

How does Hello Lamp Post support the Environment Agency’s community and business objectives:

  • Citizens can access hyper local information, share insights and make improvements to their local area
  • Customers can engage at their leisure, 24/7, 365 days of the year, in a Covid-safe way
  • Available to a much wider group of people than face to face engagement
  • Inclusive accessible engagement tool
  • The readiness and ease of a QR code would make it easier for those with visual impairments

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

Ensure Hello Lamp Post signs are in key locations with high footfall to maximise reach:

  • Additional projects rolled out in Dartmoor and Newcastle - with further signage rolled out an existing locations
  • Increased audience engagement and reach

Engage with new and existing partners to compliment the Environment Agency’s messaging and to support their place based approach:

  • Engaging with other organisations like Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council and South West Water

Increased awareness for behaviour change campaigns

Net new data relating to the Environment Agency’s objectives, with aim to include more sentiment/opinion questions moving forward

  • Cost saving across engagement - equivalent reach to 40 ‘traditional’ events (so far)
  • Carbon saving - 4.93 tonnes (and rising)
  • Outputs informing future comms/campaigns
  • The current traction is: 1,848/year User Messages

Challenges and Failures

  • Lockdown restrictions at the beginning of the deployment, which meant less people were out exploring their local areas. This changed significantly when restrictions were lifted.
  • Adoption of technology by communities - we’re encouraging the Environment Agency to share how the technology is accessible to all audiences.

Conditions for Success

  • Fighting climate change: Hello Lamp Post is an environmentally friendly solution that has supported multiple organisations with tackling climate change in their community.
  • Tackling Economic Inequality: Hello Lamp Post helps raise awareness of local events and campaigns.
  • Covid 19 recovery: Hello Lamp Post has delivered a digital solution that can engage audiences, at scale on a remote basis.
  • Wellbeing: Hello Lamp Post is used to create positive social change and improve community welfare, satisfaction and experiences. Hello Lamp Post continues to support public sector organisations with community safety.


Hello Lamp Post can provide:

  • Advanced qualitative and quantitative data analytics, enabling public consultation for the 21st century
  • People-centric chats to animate public spaces
  • Accessible tech
  • A platform to unify services in public spaces, into a seamlessly

Hello Lamp Post has already deployed in 50+ around the world, including Sydney (Australia), Tokyo (Japan), Singapore, Utrecht (Netherlands), British Columbia (Canada) and Austin (USA), in multiple languages. In the UK alone, Hello Lamp Post has worked with numerous local governments including: North Lanarkshire, Southwark, Westminster, Wandsworth Kingston, Windsor, Colchester and Dudley. It’s not just governments they can support, Hello Lamp Post has also worked with: museums, transport authorities, airports, property developers, retailers, hospitals, offices and universities.

Lessons Learned

Current tools for public communication are outdated and analogue leading to slow, expensive and often non-compliant public engagement. Think town hall meetings, clipboard surveys and labour attentive marketing campaigns… the list goes on. Citizens are feeling alienated - all they want is easier access to local information and transparent decision making. That’s where Hello Lamp Post can help!

Anything Else?

Hello Lamp Post’s edge:

  • Proprietary technology providing a location relevant, chat system as well as NLP analytics and reporting
  • Ability to serve multiple sectors, use cases, locations and communities
  • An underlying mission - enable more community-led decision making and place shaping
  • No hardware installation
  • Low barrier - inclusive to those who have been out of touch in the past
  • Tech infrastructure can scale up seamlessly to handle millions of messages per day

Hello Lamp Post uses a cloud-based server, using 100% green electricity = 106kg CO2e per year. A standard text conversation may last five minutes and therefore the carbon footprint of our server for one conversation = 106,000g / 365 days / 24 hours / 12 = 1g per conversation (stats taken from

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