Council launches consultation on reducing street lighting to save money
A public consultation has been launched on proposals to dim high wattage LED street lights by 25% and/or switching off lights between 1am and 5am in appropriate areas to cut energy costs.
Members of Neath Port Talbot Council’s Environment, Regeneration and Streetscene Cabinet Board have approved the public consultation on the issue as it wrestles with soaring costs, with the current street lighting energy budget of £1.4m predicted to be £295,000 over budget.
The council says it has already taken action to cut lighting energy costs by replacing life expired columns, cables with new fluorescent lanterns in residential areas with electronic switch gear and dimming together with replacing high wattage sodium oxide and high pressure sodium lanterns with more energy efficient LED lighting.
Without these changes, the local authority says that at today’s energy rate of 41p per kWh, the lighting bill would be a further £712,000 above the current energy costs.
Council officers have also introduced the ‘trimming’ of three watts off the power levels for all lanterns, via the council’s central management system as trials indicated this would make no discernible difference to lighting levels and would enable some immediate cost savings.
While any further action would follow the outcome of public consultation, the order of potential savings would be as follows:
- Dimming the output of LED Lanterns by 25% all night – an annual saving of up to £115,000.
- Part Night Lighting where potentially suitable between 1am – 5am – an annual saving of up to £218,000.
- Part Night Lighting where potentially suitable and dimming of LEDs elsewhere – an annual saving of up to £285,000. (Note: All potential savings are modelled on a current energy cost of 41p/KWH.)
A statement from the council explained that while the council’s primary goal at this moment in time is to secure financial savings, “the proposal will also result in a reduction in carbon emissions which will in time, and in combination with other activities, contribute towards the council’s aim to achieve net zero carbon”.
It added: “Crime and the fear of crime, are matters of public concern which this consultation will help provide better understanding of in relation to potential street lighting saving strategies. The public consultation process includes specific consultation with the emergency services and internal sections in relation to road safety and CCTV.”
The consultation runs from now until January 31st, 2024. A report on the outcome of consultations will be considered by members of the council next year.
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