Council embraces new technology to reduce its Co2 emissions


Published Friday 21 March 2014


Cllr Rob Curtis, Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services, said: “The Vale of Glamorgan Council is committed to reducing street lighting energy costs and resulting carbon emissions by 20% by 2016 in accordance with its Carbon Management Plan.  


To achieve this challenging target the Council has implemented a two year programme to replace a number of its conventional street lamps with low energy LED lanterns.  The costs of the unmetered energy supplies used for street lighting have increased by 28% per unit since 2011 / 2012 and figures from the Carbon Trust estimate carbon emissions of 0.4 kgs of Co2 per KwH, with the Council estimated to consume over 8 million KwH of energy in the current financial year.


LED lanterns are substantially more energy efficient and have a much longer life than conventional lamps. This assists in meeting the Council’s carbon emission targets and has the additional advantage of reducing energy and maintenance costs over the lifetime of the lanterns. LED lamps are also environmentally friendly as they do not contain toxic chemicals, such as mercury, which are found in traditional street lamps.


The light from LED lanterns is instantaneous unlike conventional street lighting and it utilises a white light which offers better visual accuracy and colour rendering properties to improve clarity and makes distinguishing objects easier. The use of white light on the public highway can provide a general feeling of improved security and also help generate sharper CCTV images which can assist in deterring crime.  


One of the concerns that has been registered with us by residents is the greatly reduced 'back lighting', that is a feature of LED installations. This can make areas seem dark in comparison with previous lighting installations, where a considerable amount of the light and lighting energy was wasted.  We have had some complaints that private property is no longer illuminated by the street lights as it may have been previously.  Residents may not be aware but when street lighting is provided, the Council's responsibility is to illuminate the adopted highways and footways only. The lighting of private land or residential property is a matter for the individual owners concerned.


LED lanterns meet British Standard specifications and are adjustable as well as upgradable to utilise more efficient LEDs as they are developed, without the disadvantage of having to purchase new lanterns. The LED lanterns used by the Vale are generally more competitively priced than conventional street lamps and, depending on the type of lamps they replace, typically use 40% less energy.  The Council's annual energy bill for street lighting is circa £900k and any savings in this spend will help to protect important front line services at this difficult time, financially for all Councils.
I will be taking a report to the Council's Cabinet shortly, proposing a range of measures aimed at reducing the street lighting costs in the Vale of Glamorgan by £200k in 2014/2015.  LED lighting will form a major part of the long term strategy I will be proposing.


Regrettably, due to our urgent demands to reduce costs and our carbon emissions, it will be necessary to also consider other measures to reduce energy costs from conventional street lighting as we will be unable to replace them all with LED units at this time.  This will include some dimming and the switching off of a number of non LED units.  Such measures will not be necessary in areas where LED lighting has already been installed.


I very much hope that our residents understand the need for change in this most important of service areas."