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LED street lighting

Like many local authorities we are introducing LED (light emitting diode) street light technology to help reduce our energy costs and cut carbon emissions.

Charfield was our first area to have LED lights installed in January 2014. Until 2024 we will be gradually replacing all of our street lights with LED units. Priority areas will be units that consume the most energy. In 2014/5 we completed most of our main roads and some parished areas.

We are on target to complete our 2016-17 replacement programme and are currently replacing the lanterns within Oldland Parish Council and shall be starting Siston Parish Council in February 2017.

  • 2016-17 Parishes – Bradley Stoke, Oldland, Siston, Wick & Abson

The following two years of the replacement programme includes:

  • 2017-18 Urban areas – Kings Chase, Rodway, Staple Hill, Woodstock
  • 2018-19 Parishes – Bitton, Mangotsfield, Westerleigh

Please note lights replaced from the Kings Chase ward onwards will be subject to all night lighting.

Before starting an area we will notify councillors and where appropriate parish councils.

LEDs have many benefits:

  • they consume 60% less energy than older units
  • they last four times as long as older units and are cheaper and easier to maintain
  • they are easier to control, allowing us to dim output at selected times for maximum energy efficiency
  • they reduce light pollution because their beam is focused more effectively on the roads and footpaths and not private land

The following sets out answers to commonly asked questions about LED lights.

How much will this cost and how much will it save?

This is an ‘Invest to Save’ project which is designed to pay for itself over time and then deliver ongoing savings for the council. The total cost of replacing all units with LEDs is approximately £14million. The council is now saving approximately £1million a year through the LED replacement programme.

On average, the lights will pay for themselves within approximately eight years of installation. LED units last much longer than sodium lights and therefore require less maintenance.

How will this help South Gloucestershire’s carbon emissions?

LED lights use 60% less energy and when fully implemented will reduce our total street lighting-related carbon emissions by about 60% – equal to around 4,800 tonnes per year.

When will my street lights be replaced with LEDs?

LEDs will be introduced gradually and your street lights may not change for a number of years. We are prioritising urban areas first, as these have more street lights and therefore will deliver the bulk of energy savings.

New lights have been installed in my street and now there are dark patches

The focusing technology of LEDs makes sure that more of the light’s output is usefully directed at the ground, reducing the amount that ‘spills’ out to the sides. This can make it appear darker outside lit areas.

What are the big differences between LED lights and my current lights?

  • The lights are dimmer – we are aware that areas will be dimmer; however, on balance, the council considers the lighting level to be appropriate.
  • There are darker areas between lights – the focusing technology of LEDs makes sure that more of the light’s output is most usefully directed at the ground, reducing the amount that ‘spills’ out to the sides. This will make it appear darker outside lit areas.
  • Light pollution is considerably less – less light spills into the sky and into gardens, meaning driveways and doors don’t get illuminated.
  • LED lights use 60% less energy – when fully implemented will reduce our total street lighting-related carbon emissions by about 60% – equal to around 4,800 tonnes per year.
  • LED units last four times as long – this results in lower maintenance costs.
  • LED lights can be controlled – this means we will be able to dim lights down in quieter times, to help save more money.

Will you be replacing the lighting columns to do this?

Not routinely, we will be reusing all columns unless they need to be replaced as part of our routine maintenance programme. Some sites may require additional units however to cover excessive column spacing.

Will you be dimming the LEDs when they are installed?

Yes, a useful feature of the new technology is that it allows us to adjust the output of the lights to help reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. We plan to dim all of our street lights by between 25% and 50%. Evidence from other local authorities suggests that dimming LED street lights by this level is barely noticeable to the human eye.

Will you be getting rid of part-night lighting now that we have LEDs?

Our all night lighting policy will take effect from 1 April 2017 and will be rolled out as part of the LED programme.

Previously installed LED lanterns will remain ‘part night’ and will only be considered for change after the current LED programme is completed in 2025.

New housing developments and schemes that have been approved under a previous policy will be considered for change only after the development has been adopted.

Is the council legally required to provide a certain level of street lighting?

The council does not have a duty to provide lights. Once installed we must ensure they are maintained.


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