Leeds City Council has issued an update on the progress of the programme to upgrade all street lights in the city to make them more energy-efficient.
In December 2018, the council’s executive board approved a plan to invest £25.4million to convert 86,000 lights across the city to new LED lamps. The council has since been working with street lighting partner TVL on finalising the details of the programme, and an agreement has now been reached to allow the four-year delivery period to start in September at a reduced total cost of £22.5m.
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. The confirmed programme will convert the remaining 86,000, generating savings of £3.4m a year at current energy prices when the work is complete.
The successful conversion of the street lights is estimated to reduce the street lighting energy consumption in the city by approximately 62%, delivering around 7,050 tonnes of carbon savings. This reduction will contribute to the council’s commitment to working towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Additional benefits also include the new LED lanterns being fully recyclable, while their increased efficiency will require less maintenance visits and therefore less emissions from service vehicles.
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 nighttime switch-offs at this stage, with the position being kept under review.
As part of the street lights upgrade, Leeds City Council has approved funding of £5m to make the system remotely controllable using the latest technology as part of the ‘Smart City’ approach. This would enable the system to be controlled in real-time, connected as a full network and also integrate with other city infrastructure such as CCTV, air quality and temperature monitoring. Discussions around this aspect of the project are continuing.
Leeds City Council executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development Councillor Lisa Mulherin said:
“Having made a commitment to doing everything we can to tackle the climate emergency and become carbon neutral as a city, looking at our street lights and making them as energy efficient as we can by converting them to the latest LEDs is a key priority.
“As well as making them much more energy-efficient, and being fully recyclable, this programme delivers significant financial savings and will have paid for itself in around seven years.”
Managing Director of operating sub-contractor SSE Enterprise Stuart Chaston said:
“We are proud to support Leeds City Council’s commitment to working towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030. SSE Enterprise is driving forward the “Smart Cities” approach, enabling more areas to embrace technology to make a real impact on their carbon emissions and manage energy more efficiently and Leeds is at the forefront of this.”