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Agenda Item No. 5

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

ENVIRONMENT AND REGENERATION SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: 17 MAY 2016

 

REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 25 APRIL 2016

 

C3160                        STREET LIGHTING ENERGY REDUCTION STRATEGY – UPDATE AND NEXT STEPS (VLS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Cabinet was advised of the current position with the 'Street Lighting Energy Reduction Strategy' and considered a series of further measures aimed at supporting the transition to full LED lighting and the achievement of increased energy savings.

 

Cabinet considered a report entitled 'Street Lighting Energy Reduction Strategy', at its meeting of 20 October, 2014 where the following was resolved:-

 

“(1) T H A T the implementation of a street lighting strategy based on the principle of reduced energy consumption with part night lighting introduced for all appropriate areas of conventional street lighting as an initial measure, as outlined in Option 6 of the report be agreed.

 

(2) T H A T the Director of Visible Services and Housing be authorised to invite tenders for the installation of part night timing devices for the Council's conventional street lighting stock.

 

(3) T H A T the background information contained in the report relating to LED lighting be noted and a further report be provided to Cabinet detailing the proposed full street lighting energy reduction strategy on conclusion of the 'part night' street lighting introduction and discussions with potential partners.

 

(4) T H A T the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) for information.

 

Reasons for decisions:

 

(1) To approve the main principles of a new street lighting strategy, fit for the financial and environmental challenges ahead.

 

(2) To provide authority to engage contractors to undertake all works associated with the change to part night street lighting in accordance with option 6 of the report.

 

(3) To agree the full 10 year strategy when all future street lighting management options had been considered by officers.

 

(4) To inform the appropriate Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment).”

 

The part night lighting programme, identified as 'option 6' in the recommendations shown above, was now complete and the report provided an update on the carbon and financial savings achieved and on issues encountered as a result of the change to part-night lighting.

 

The report also reviewed various options aimed at working towards full LED lighting, along with possible changes to the operation of current and future light units aimed at obtaining a balance between carbon and financial savings, the views of residents and the appropriate illumination of the highway network.  The intention was to request consideration of the report and the options by the relevant Scrutiny Committee prior to a final decision being taken by Cabinet.

 

As advised, the strategic option chosen was 'Option 6' in the previous report, "Retain LED stock and part night 70% of remaining stock at 12 midnight".  The report indicated an estimated implementation cost of £350,385 with energy cost savings per annum of £371,862.71 and a CO² saving of 1338 tonnes per annum.  The payback period for this option was estimated at 0.9 years.

 

After extensive consideration by the 'Part Night Lighting Board', comprising officers from Highways and Engineering, Road Safety, Community Safety and the Police; it was only possible to part night 65% of the conventional lighting stock, some 7,400 units. The Board used a risk matrix to analyse the stock to assist in making their decisions and a copy of this risk matrix and associated explanatory information was attached at Appendix A to the report.

The matrix included an assessment of highway and community safety impacts and wider social considerations. Whilst all part-night lighting decisions were well thought through, officers had received a number of complaints, primarily concerning overly dark areas in residential streets.  As of 14 April, 2016 225 complaints and service requests had been received that were associated with a change to part night lighting.  Whilst the number of complaints was relatively low for such a significant service change, it was evident that some of the issues raised were of concern and could require further consideration.

 

More of the existing conventional style lighting could be changed to part-night lighting over time but the original figure did not include certain non-highway related hazards such as street lights close to areas of open water, where lights had to remain on.  This was in part the reason why 65% was achieved and not 70%.  The projected full year energy saving from the part-night scheme was now £217k with 1042 tonnes of CO². Whilst the financial and CO² savings were lower than the estimates detailed above, the implementation costs were considerably less than those predicted, meaning that the pay-back period had reduced from 0.9 years to 0.65 years.

 

The previous report featured a graph which plotted the costs of option 6 against the available budget for the next 15 years.  The graph assumed a year on year energy unit price increase of 5% and showed the costs of the part night lighting strategy (with existing LED lighting units) exceeded the available budget in 2021 / 2022.

 

This graph had now been re-calibrated to take account of the actual data and reduced increases in the unit energy price (3% per annum inflation had now been assumed).  Due to the reduction in the savings highlighted above, the energy cost of the current part night lighting strategy was projected to exceed the 2016 / 2017 budget by £83,925.  The report noted that this budget position assumed the further £100k saving identified within the medium term financial plan for street lighting for the 2016 / 2017 period, but no additional savings. This position was clearly not sustainable as costs now exceed the budget from next year. The graph showing the current position was attached at Appendix B to the report.

 

As it now stood, the Council's lighting stock comprised 15,902 units.  Of these, 5,113 were LED (32%). 

 

A capital amount of £100k had been made available via the capital programme for LED lighting installations for 2016 / 2017 and 2017 / 2018.  Whilst this was a positive move towards the strategy of having full LED lighting, even if this funding was to continue at this level, it would take in the region of 40 years to replace all the existing conventional lighting with LED units.  If a shorter replacement period was required further investment would be needed and the current position and a number of possible funding options would be considered in more detail.

 

As background to the options to follow; at the end of 2015/16 there would be 10,789 conventional type street lamps remaining in the Vale. These were a mixture of residential and main road units, with a full LED replacement cost of approximately £4m. As was detailed in the previous Cabinet report, the payback period for this level of investment was in the region of 13 years. This was mostly due to the number of main road columns involved and the savings from changing these to LED being considerably less than those in residential areas.

 

Whilst at the previous Cabinet meeting, members agreed to the principle of a change to full LED street lighting over time, it would not be prudent to suggest the utilisation of this level of reserves to replace the entire remaining conventional street lighting stock at this time.  The payback period was too long and service resilience could be compromised as the total current value of the Visible Services reserve was now circa £6.5m and there were other various significant commitments from the reserve.

 

Instead it was proposed that a smaller amount of capital funding be utilised from the Visible Services Reserve to change all the remaining conventional lighting in residential areas to LED. Bearing in mind this is where the vast majority of the part-night lighting complaints have come from and this was the area where maximum savings could be achieved. There were approximately 5,900 street lamps in residential areas that would need to be changed at a cost of circa £1.2m.

 

Including a possible option to make no further changes to the current part-night lighting arrangements, other than the LED installations already earmarked within the capital programme, there were four possible options. A table indicating these was attached at Appendix C to the report with a graphical representation of each option, compared to the budget available, attached at Appendix D to the report. The various options were considered in more detail in the report.

 

At the meeting the Director Environment and Housing Services commented that the report contained a number of options that would help the Council going forward for the next ten years in terms of financial cost savings.

 

He highlighted option 3 of the report to "Dim existing LED lights at midnight and invest £1.2m in 2016/17 and £100k in 2017/18 and 2018/19 in LED residential street lighting which were also to be dimmed at midnight."  He commented that this option provided the third greatest saving when reductions in maintenance and carbon tax were taken into account whilst also allowing for consistent and appropriate lighting levels to be achieved throughout the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the current position with the part night lighting and LED light installation programme be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the report and all the options and associated issues included in the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) for consideration.

 

(3)       T H A T a further report be presented to Cabinet on conclusion of the consideration of the issue by the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment).

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To note the current street lighting position.

 

(2)       To seek the views of the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) before progressing with options.

 

(3)       To allow Cabinet to determine the way forward after taking into account the views of the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment).

 

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 25 APRIL 2016