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More reliable modern street lights lead to savings

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet has agreed proposals to save £440,000 a year by changing the way it maintains street lights following the introduction of more-reliable LED lamps.

Results of a recent public consultation showed that 57% of respondents agreed with plans to stop night-time inspections, and 50% of respondents agreed with plans to extend the routine testing cycle from 5 to 10 years.

The council has been replacing the old-style sodium lamps with LED lamps for a number of years, with around 114,000 of the county’s 151,000 street lights now upgraded to LEDs. A further programme of investment means that almost all will be LEDs by 2021.

LED lights are expected to work reliably for around 20 years, lasting much longer than the traditional sodium lights, resulting in less need to check and fix them.

The council will now stop carrying out night-time inspections, and move to making routine tests of street lights every 10 years, rather than every 5 years. However, when members of the public report faults, the council will be quick to fix them, maintaining the current five-day response target whenever a problem is reported.

County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Like many councils we are facing an extremely challenging financial position, and this is one area where the increased reliability of new technology means we can save a lot of money with no significant impact on the quality of service.

“The consultation shows that people broadly accept these changes and understand why we’re making them.

“I’d like to reassure those respondents who were concerned that there may be fewer working street lights that this is not something we expect to happen, or would accept. Faults should occur much less often with LED lamps, and when they are reported we will respond within five days, and immediately if there should ever be a bigger problem.”

The savings to the council’s budget will be made from 2019/20 onwards.

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