Traditional street lights set to be replaced with LED lights

An LED street light.

Plans to replace traditional street lights with a more sustainable option will be discussed by North Yorkshire County Council councillors when they meet later this month.

The councillors will consider a report on the business case for replacing all North Yorkshire County Council street lights with new LED technology over the next three years.

There are already a number of LED street lights operating across the county where the original lights have been replaced due to faults.

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County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “LED streetlights have many benefits over conventional options. For a start, they are more environmentally friendly, as they can play a significant part in reducing carbon emissions. They also use far less energy and come on instantly without a warm-up period.

“As well as these significant environmental benefits, they are also very cost effective to run, a factor which we must consider as we continue to provide our residents with quality services despite having to manage reduced budgets. Lamp replacement costs are lower and maintenance visits are usually only needed every six years. In a large, mainly rural area such as North Yorkshire this would be a great benefit to residents in outlying, hard-to-reach areas as well as achieving a significant ongoing financial saving.”

“We replaced several hundreds of the cast iron lighting columns in Harrogate with modern, elegant steel columns and LEDs in 2015. Generally speaking, residents have been very pleased with the quality of lighting provided by the LEDs, whose light can more easily be focused down to street level with less glare in the sky and unwanted illumination of upstairs rooms in houses.

“The County Council maintains 50,400 streetlights, which cost about £2.1 million to power and £1.2 million to maintain every year. The new, more efficient LED equipment would cost about 40% less to power.

“With energy prices forecast to increase, the new lights would pay for themselves in under 10 years. As energy prices rise, this payback time decreases proportionately. In addition, the LED lights would require less maintenance, significantly reduce light pollution and come with a 20-year warranty.’’

The plan would be to install the new LED lanterns on existing street lighting columns. In the vast majority of cases there would be no change to the lamp post itself, although a small number will need to be replaced to accommodate the new lanterns.

The Executive will discuss approval for funding the replacement of an initial 7,000 lamps in 2017-18, with the capital for the rest of the programme then being sought via the annual budget report in 2018.