Agenda Item No. 5










Approval was sought for changes in the Council's street lighting arrangements aimed at significantly reducing future costs and energy consumption.


There was no statutory requirement on Local Authorities in the UK to provide public lighting. The Highways Act 1980 empowered local highway authorities to light roads but did not place a duty on them to do so. The Council, as the local highway authority, did however have a duty of care to its road users and therefore, it could be deemed, was subject to an obligation to light certain parts of the highway dependent on the level of risk posed. The Council also had a statutory duty under the Highways Act to ensure the safety of the highway and that included any lighting equipment placed on it. Further, the Council should give regard to its duties under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, ensuring that any of its decisions take into account the possible effects on crime and disorder in an area. 


The Council relied on unmetered electricity supplied to power its 15,795 street lights.  For unmetered supplies a cost for each light unit was established based on its energy consumption and time lit, this was then totalled by the electricity supplier to provide an annual supply cost. The Council's street lighting energy costs had increased by 28% per unit of energy since 2011/12 and this trend looked set to continue.


As of 1 July, 2014, 2247 lower wattage LED lanterns had been installed, 514 lower wattage white lanterns had been installed, 1492 street lamps had been dimmed between midnight and 6am, and 1975 street lights dimmed between 10:00 p.m. and 06:00 a.m.  These changes had saved in excess of £60k per annum in energy costs, reducing emissions by 300 tonnes of COâ‚‚ per annum.


Taking into account the Council's current street lighting stock position (end of 2014/15) and the level of financial savings required by the Council over the next 3 years, there was a range of street lighting options that could form the principles of a future strategy. A summary of the costs and savings that could be realised by these options along with the environmental impacts and payback periods was attached at Appendix A to the report. An appraisal of the various options was outlined as follows:


Option 1 – Do nothing


Option 2 – Change to full LED

This was not entirely feasible as 5.5% of the lighting stock (877 lighting columns) had a decorative/ornate style of lantern, and to date, there was no option to replace these luminaires with LED units.


Option 3 – Change to full LED with a Central Management System (CMS)

A CMS system enabled lighting levels and timings to be adjusted remotely across the entire street lighting portfolio. It would be virtually impossible to establish the exact savings in energy costs from utilising this system until a specific switching regime was put into place for each individual luminaire i.e.: dimming, part night, switch off etc. Appendix A attached to the report, therefore indicated either the 12 am or 1 am part night operation, but there would be an additional savings element should this option be chosen. Again the investment required for this option was prohibitive.


Option 4 - Retain LED current lighting arrangements and dim all remaining SON and SOX and alike light lanterns

SOX lighting could not be dimmed so these had been taken out of the equation.


Option 5 – Retain LED stock and part night (1am) 70% of the remaining stock

In order to maintain night-time economy areas and the safety of certain highway junctions it had been assumed that 10% of each type of non LED light source (30% in total) would retain dusk until dawn operation with the remaining being part night.


Option 6 – Retain LED stock and part night (12am) 70% of the remaining stock

As Option 5 above but with an earlier switch off time. Clearly, the greater the period of light 'switch off' the more challenging the decision, but this option provided the greatest savings in terms of both costs; £371,862.71 per annum and carbon 1,338 tonnes per annum, and was therefore the preferred principle for the street lighting strategy.


Option 7a

As option 5 but with all lighting stock on CMS. The payback period on this option was too long due to the installation and running costs of the CMS system. 


Option 7b

As option 6 but with all lighting stock on CMS. The payback period on this option was too long.


Option 8 - Permanently switch off all lights

In order to switch off all street lights, our electricity distribution company would probably insist on permanently disconnecting their service supply cables from the entry points that consisted of 12,026 underground services, 1205 overhead services and approximately 2469 lighting columns with a private cable network which could be isolated from local feeder pillars. This was not a viable option due mostly to health and safety concerns.


The graph attached at Appendix B to the report provided an indication of the projected impact of rising energy costs over a 15 year period. The graph showed a 'Do Nothing' option alongside the projected budget and also the cost of the preferred option (option 6 as outlined above). This clearly showed that the 'Do Nothing' option was unaffordable in the current economic climate. Option 6 above however provided additional savings to those already offered, that could potentially be used to lessen the impact on other frontline services.


The principle of the preferred street lighting strategy was to progress option 6 but to also continue to change all remaining non LED lights to LED when the relevant funding became available.


Option 6, required up front funding of circa £350k and it was suggested that this be provided from Visible Services reserve. The work to install the part night sensors would be externally tendered and the duration of the work was at least 3 months. It was possible that this work could be completed by the end of this current financial year, if authority to proceed was provided by the end of November 2014.


At the meeting the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services

emphasised that areas already with LED lighting would be kept on along with  Major Roundabouts, Road Junctions and areas of night time economy.


This was a matter for Executive decision




(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). 




Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 20 OCTOBER 2014