We live in tough economic times, and councils in the UK fell foul of a raft of spending cuts announced by the government at the end of last year. The 350 councils in England saw their grants drop by an average of 4.4%. As they face increasing pressure to become more efficient with fewer resources, councils need to find new ways to reduce their costs. One obvious road to savings is the introduction of LED street lights.
LED light bulbs offer energy savings of up to 80%, and cities across the globe, from Adelaide to Budapest, have begun to adopt LED street lights. Ann Arbor in Michigan has been a pioneering force in environmental initiatives. Keen to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the city now uses 114,000 LED lights over the festive period. It is also in the third and final phase of converting every city-owned street light to LED technology. In San Jose, California, over 250 LED fixtures have already been installed. The lights are programmed to know when the sun rises and sets and can adjust accordingly, operating at 50% power when there is still some daylight. The city plans to convert all 65,000 street lights by 2022. San Jose knows the way to a greener future!
So what is the picture in the UK? The long-term cost savings of LED lighting are clear, and there are indications councils in this country are finally beginning to see the benefits. Earlier this year Southampton City Council announced plans for the city’s iconic Itchen Bridge to be lit with LED light bulbs. The overhaul will involve 42 street lights being replaced with white light columns which emit blue LED background light. As well as offering less glare and light pollution, the columns have very low running and maintenance costs.
Even more impressive is Bath and North East Somerset Council’s recent installation of LED-powered street lights at the Hicks Gate roundabout in Keynsham, near Bristol.
The street lights are the first of their kind in Britain. Like those in San Jose, their brightness levels adjust automatically depending on the time of day and the level of traffic. The lights will reduce the council’s annual carbon emissions by 25 tonnes. And with expected savings to the taxpayer of £4,500 a year, the LED lights will have paid for themselves in just eight years. With such a progressive lighting policy, you could say Bath and North East Somerset Council have LED by example! Hopefully it’s only a matter of time before councils up and down the country follow suit.
If you’d like to discuss your LED requirements and our special discounted rates for councils please contact us on: 0845 459 8010.