Street lighting - keeping pace with the changes

I write in response to the article from Norman Baker MP (MP issues challenge to introduce low energy street lights, 28 February 2014.)

East Sussex County Council is one of the most advanced local authorities in its approach to street lighting and has introduced a large number of changes to its street lighting to reduce its electricity bill and carbon footprint, including the rollout of modern LED technology.

In 2010 ESCC started to look at ways to save electricity and reduce CO2 emissions through reducing the wattage of our street lights and by turning off street lights in the early hours of the morning across the county. By 2012 the rapid advances in LED technology meant that LED street lighting became more affordable; providing good light quality whilst also delivering savings associated with ongoing maintenance.

In April 2013 our contractor started changing our street lighting on residential streets in Eastbourne from conventional lighting to modern, cost effective LED lighting. This project is now approaching completion and we will have replaced approximately 6,000 of the original lanterns with LED lanterns, reducing our electricity consumption by approximately £150,000 per year and our CO2 emissions by 900 tonnes. A similar project, starting in April 2014, will follow on in Hastings and should deliver a similar level of savings.

In addition, all street lighting column replacements are now being designed and installed using LED lanterns so further electricity and CO2 savings will be realised around the county.

Over the past few years we have also introduced numerous other changes to our street lights to save energy, including the introduction of dimming on main traffic routes between midnight and 6am and the installation of lower wattage lighting. In 2012 we also changed our street lighting policy so that it can be targeted when and where it offers the most benefit.

The introduction of LED street lights will reduce electricity consumption and CO2 emissions by an average of 65%. Although the current LED lantern technology is efficient and relatively affordable it is under constant development and East Sussex County Council will continue to liaise with manufacturers to ensure that we keep pace with technology to deliver the benefits to East Sussex residents.

Carl Maynard

ESCC Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment