Leeds LEDs
Senior councillors approve £30m investment in new smart street lights for Leeds.
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Senior councillors approve £30m investment in new smart street lights for Leeds

Street lights in Leeds are to be upgraded to make them more energy efficient after a proposal was approved by senior councillors this week.

At the meeting of the council’s executive board meeting at Civic Hall, councillors approved a recommendation to invest £25.4million to convert 86,000 lights across the city to new LED lamps. The board also approved investing a further £5m in making the light system across the city more controllable in terms of utilising the latest technology as part a ‘Smart City’ network approach.

The council currently spends around £4.8m a year on electricity to run approximately 92,000 street lights, with 6,000 of these already earmarked to be converted to LEDs if the wider programme is approved. The proposal called for the remaining 86,000 to also be converted over a four-year period starting next summer, generating savings of £3.4m a year at current energy prices when the programme is complete.

As well as making the lights more energy efficient, the upgrade offers the opportunity to make the light system ‘smart’ by being able to be controlled remotely and in real-time, connected as a network and with other city infrastructures such as CCTV, air quality and temperature monitoring.

Public consultation on street lighting in the city was carried out from November 2017 to January 2018. More than 2,000 responses were received, with more than 80 per cent backing the upgrade of lights and (52.2 per cent) supportive of both the upgrade to LEDs and increased levels of nighttime switch-offs. There are no plans for further night time switch-offs at this stage, with the position being kept under review.

The council will now work with street lighting partner TCL on the upgrading programme.

Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said:

“Having listened to what people told us and weighing up the costs and benefits, there is now a clear case for upgrading all streetlights in the city to more energy-efficient LEDs. With energy costs expected to rise, this is one area where we can make huge savings in cost and energy use, and it will pay for itself in ten years. There’s also the potential for future savings because we’ll be able to do things like dimming street lights from a distance away.

“It also gives us an opportunity to utilise the latest technology as part of our commitment to innovation and being a Smart City, so the lighting system can be controlled and maintained at a distance in response to events, again improving efficiency and saving money. On top of this, I don’t think we’ve yet realised the full potential of smart technology in this and it offers other potential benefits in terms of air quality and road temperature monitoring, so now is the right time to invest in this technology.”

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