Council to save £200k a year by switching to cheaper and more reliable street lights

Posted On 09 Dec 2016 at 7:03 pm

Brighton and Hove City Council aims to save more than £200,000 a year by switching to cheaper and more reliable street lights.

About 20,000 lamp posts will be changed to use LED (light-emitting diode) technology as part of a three-year project costing £8 million.

The council’s electricity bill for street lights currently runs to almost £1 million a year. The LED lamps will mean that the bill costs about half as much.

Once the costs of the project are taken into account, the council expects to save more than £200,000 a year.

The “invest to save” project was approved by the council’s Policy, Resources and Growth Committee at Hove Town Hall last night (Thursday 8 December).

Councillor Gill Mitchell, who chairs the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “This is an extremely exciting project.

“Installing LED lighting across the city and using the columns for other technologies will bring huge benefits to our residents, businesses and visitors.”

Councillor Gill Mitchell

Councillor Gill Mitchell


The committee was told that a central management system (CMS), controlled by the council, would also be set up as part of the project.

The CMS would allow more accurate switch on and switch off times, with staff being able to brighten and dim the lights as needed.

Maintenance costs would be cheaper, councillors were told, and the central controls could be adapted to help turn Brighton and Hove into a hi-tech “smart city”.

For example, wifi could be added, rubbish and recycling bins could be monitored and so could gullies.

The technology could also tell drivers where to find empty parking spaces and sensors could check air pollution levels.

Councillor Mitchell said: “We will save money by cutting our electricity use and be more environmentally friendly by reducing our energy and carbon footprint by up to 61 per cent.

“Becoming a smart city means everyone will benefit from our use of the latest technologies while well-lit streets help reduce crime and the fear of crime as well as providing a safer night-time street scene.”

She added that if the council took a “do nothing” approach, it would face rising energy and consumption costs while its finances were being cut.

  1. B hall Reply

    Perhaps the council could say money if they fixed all the street lights that stay on all day. When notified they state that they are not interested in those that stay on.

  2. Gerald Wiley Reply

    Whilst these new LED street lights are undoubtedly more energy efficient, and the savings to the council come through after 40 years (£8m cost/£200k annual saving), it’s a shame that residents aren’t being asked for their views – like the did with the new recycling wheelie bins.

    We have had several of the old yellow “sodium” lamps replaced near us and the LED ones are indeed brighter and whiter, but the area covered by them seems a lot smaller, so leading to more areas seeming to be without cover. Do we need additional street lights to maintain the coverage if they are really worried about reducing crime?

    Perhaps some form of diffuser could be attached to spread the light more widely?

    Also when driving, you get used to street lights being yellow and vehicle lights being white – several times I have stopped at night, thinking a vehicle was coming the opposite direction, only to (embarrassingly) find it was a single white street light in a street of yellow ones. Can the colour of the light generated be altered?

    But I do find the desire for us to become a “smart city” quite ironic – considering the amount the council “experts” spent buying councillors “smart phones” that couldn’t be used for the functions they wanted.- namely reading PDF files instead of having printed copies of documents.

  3. Hjarrs Reply

    There will always be those resistant to change, but the Led lights around Hanover and Queens Park have been working for the last couple of years and I should imagine people are largely oblivious to the change. Many of the streets were not best lit with sodium lights and they have not got any worse and often seem improved following updating.

    The old sodium lights often shone indiscriminately and there was a lot of light pollution. The leds are generally a big improvement, being lower energy and more focussed. In my experience, on a clear night the stars are now far more visible than before.

    • Gerald Wiley Reply

      Sorry @HJarrs – not resistant to change, but just wishing to provide constructive comments based upon my observations.

      It may be great to “see more stars” as part of the “dark skys” initiative, but it needs to be done in a way that meets the needs of residents, rather than being imposed upon us by various activists who think they always know what is best for everyone else(memories of Ian Davey!)

      For example, could the LED lights be coloured and/or be fitted with diffusers to spread the light more evenly, but without sending it upwards?

  4. Brian Cooper Reply

    I don’t understand why new lamp posts have to be installed when swapping from sodium to LEC lighting?

    Can’t the new LED lamps be retrofitted to the sodium lamp posts – that would provide even better savings?

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