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£2 million investment in York’s streetlights

Thousands of York’s ageing streetlights are set for an overhaul through a £2million investment by City of York Council.

The council has a responsibility to maintain over 21,000 streetlights including 5,500 concrete columns across the city. 

However, many lights were installed over 50 years ago in the 60s through to the 80s and are at the end of their natural life and are failing to contribute to carbon reduction targets.  

Previous schemes have replaced around 1,000 steel and concrete columns and almost half of the city’s streetlights (10,000) with new ‘white lights’ or LED technology.

Approval was given back in February to invest a further £2million council capital funding into a new four-year programme of works to enable the remainder of the lights to be replaced.

These works are now set to get underway to install 2,000 concrete and steel columns and fund structural maintenance checks for 12,000 light columns city wide. All replacement columns with old sodium lights will also be replaced with new white light LEDs.

Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment, said: “These new streetlights will make significant carbon, energy and cost savings. Installing new LED lanterns has already helped us to save around 1,000 tonnes of carbon a year. The new rollout will help save us £30 a year for each new lantern.”

Using LEDs has approximately halved the amount of energy usage per light while maintaining current lighting level standards. The white light also provides a clearer light, which aims to make people feel safer at night.

Superintendent Adam Thomson, Commander of York Police, said: “We welcome City of York Council’s efforts to increase visibility at night time which helps promote a feeling of safety and reassurance. The new lights will also help deter criminal and antisocial behaviour as well as helping to improve the clarity of CCTV images.”

The rollout of LED lights is expected to save around £100k per annum in electricity usage. Saving the taxpayer over £2.5million over 25-years. In addition the new LEDs will help to further reduce environmental impacts.

York Environment Chair Phil Bixby said: “I’m delighted to hear that City of York Council is extending the use of LED bulbs to further streetlights across the city. Often it is only the more dramatic or ‘camera friendly’ changes which reach the notice of the residents, whereas it is the more subtle changes which have the biggest impact, especially when implemented over large areas and where energy savings can be substantial. The improvement is slightly more visible in this case, as the quality of light will be better and colour rendition will be greatly improved from sodium fittings. It’s a quiet win all round.”

There are a number of reasons why an increasing number of council’s across the country including North Yorkshire, Worcester, Wakefield, Sheffield, Birmingham, Leicestershire, Durham, Salford, Bury and Plymouth are choosing to install LED lighting and are introducing a way to reduce the light wattage:

·     LED lighting has a lower energy consumption (offering the lowest possible running costs: less than 100 watts for the highest power units; whereas with other forms of lighting much more energy is wasted generating heat)

·     Superior quality illumination (even spread of light, no dark or bright  spots, better targeting especially with higher-end LED lighting products)

·     Longer product life and reliability (up to 100,000 hours - in comparison fluorescent bulbs typically last 10,000 hours and incandescent bulbs 1,000; the best LED products available today deliver 10-years life, with warranty)

·     No maintenance (no bulb failure, no down-time)

·     Instant start (no warm up time for full light output)

·     Suitable for challenging environments (higher-end products are weather-hardened, hot and cold climate tolerant, vandal resistant)

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