A bright future? LED street lamps light the way ahead
LED street lighting roll-out ‘to save Edinburgh £ millions’
Councillors have approved plans to ‘upgrade’ street lights across Edinburgh, saving an estimated £77m over the next 20 years. Tuesday’s Transport and Environment Committee agreed proposals to convert 54,000 street lights to energy-efficient LED (Light Emitting Diodes).
The move follows a project to replace 7000 obsolete lanterns with LED lights last year, aiming to reduce the cost of energy consumption for the city’s street lights, which was in the region of £2.97m per year.
The new lights came in for heavy criticism when they were first introduced last year. Community campaigners across the city argued that the dim street lights were a safety hazard, and street lighting was subsequently boosted following a review by officials. The council says it has learned from last year’s experience but some residents remain dissatisfied with the weak street lighting.
Local woman Joan Cunningham is one of many who think the LED lights are not as effective as the ones they replaced. Joan, from Crewe Road, said: “We already have the new type street lights in our area and they are useless! Last night an elderly lady asked if I was walking up a street as she was frightened that the lighting is so poor. Everyone is saying how poor the lights are – is the council in Edinburgh deaf? And in an area where crime is high are they surprised at the complaints?”
With energy rates expected to double within the next ten years, the use of LEDs will allow the Council to reduce electricity usage while mitigating the expected rise in carbon costs.
Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “The city-wide roll-out of LED lights is a huge step towards an efficient, sustainable future for Edinburgh. Not only will it reduce carbon emissions but will have a real impact on energy costs in the long term.
“Our aim is to draw on experience gained from the first phase of white lights which has allowed us to gauge demands on lamp brightness and control for residents and traffic.”
The results of last year’s White Light Project have enabled the Council’s Street Lighting section to formulate a robust business case for a city-wide roll out. This includes a comparison between a ‘do nothing’ scenario and a change to LEDs over a 20 year period, which estimated a £77m difference between the two, calculated on maintenance savings and reduced energy use.
Lessons learned from the initial project, when some residents considered lights to be too dim, have been taken into account. This has resulted in the proposed installation of brighter LEDs with the facility to remotely adjust lighting levels, rather than individually, where necessary.
A bright, greener future, or kept in the dark? We’ll see (hopefully)!