Hull City Council to install 32,000 new street lights – to save £1m a year
Work will begin in the spring to install about 32,000 new street lights, with Hull City Council expected to save more than £1m a year.
Hull has about 42,000 street lights, of which only 9,000 are low wattage.
Under the plans, every high- wattage light will be replaced with an energy-saving LED alternative.
Councillor Martin Mancey, portfolio holder for energy, said the authority is borrowing £7m to pay for the lights, but expects huge savings to be made in the long run.
He said: “At the moment, we spend £1.6m each year on street lighting and, by our calculations, we will save £865,000 a year by switching to these LED street lights.
“On top of that, because Hull City Council has to pay a carbon tax, we will make an additional saving of £50,000 a year.”
The projected life of an LED street light is about 20 years, said Cllr Mancey, explaining how even more savings are expected.
“The existing lights last roughly six to eight years. With that in mind, the anticipated maintenance savings are about £200,000 a year, giving us a total annual saving of just over £1m.”
Cllr Mancey said he expects the investment to be paid over six years.
“After that, it’s all net savings for us,” he said.
“Over 20 years, which is the projected life of an LED street light, we are looking at saving £21m – a colossal figure.”
The quality of the LED lights, which will be installed over a two-year period, are far superior to the existing ones, said Cllr Mancey.
“It will result in less light pollution upwards,” he said.
“Because of their longer life spans, there will be fewer dark spots created when lights go out.”
In response to huge financial challenges facing local government, councils across the country have implemented a raft of street light strategies in a bid to save money.
Measures have included switching off lights permanently and reducing the number of hours that lamps are switched on at night. Other authorities, such as Hull, have preferred less drastic options.
Cllr Mancey said: “From the perspectives of safety and security, turning off street lights is not something that I would contemplate.”
However, his comments appear at odds with research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health last summer.
Based on 14 years of data from 62 local authorities across England and Wales, it found there was no evidence of a link between reduced street lighting and increased crime or traffic accidents.
But Cllr Mancey suggested there might be a link between reduced lighting and the fear of crime.
“Residents’ perception of the likelihood of crime would no doubt increase if we were to turn off lights,” he said. “I believe people would be extremely concerned if we were to consider that.”