End of an era for old street lights as new high-tech lamps ushered in

Heritage lighting in North Yorkshire that has recently been switched to LED.
Heritage lighting in North Yorkshire that has recently been switched to LED.

A programme to convert street lights in North Yorkshire to LED is bringing environmental and financial benefits sooner than expected.

North Yorkshire County Council has so far converted more than 35,000 streets lights – 80 per cent of the target number – to LED. This has generated energy and maintenance savings of £800,000 this financial year alone.

The three-year project has also brought a marked reduction in the County Council’s carbon footprint with more than 2,400 tonnes of CO2 saved annually and the number of street lighting defects reduced by about half.

The County Council has recently started converting heritage lighting to LED. Residents will see no difference in the daytime appearance of the lights, but will notice the change to a whiter light when the LEDs switch on.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “When the decision was taken to make a substantial investment in converting all the county council’s street lights from incandescent to LED, we were confident of getting a 100 per cent return within ten years. Our street lighting team and our highway maintenance contractor, Ringway, have made such rapid progress that we are realising the benefits of this project much sooner.

“Against a backdrop of spiralling energy costs and ever-rising inflationary pressures, modernising our streetlights is essential. The whole replacement programme Is likely to be delivered early and under budget, and this will make a significant contribution to the county council’s savings targets and carbon reduction commitments.”

The replacement of so many street lights may temporarily affect timings on those that switch off between midnight and 5am. When the power supply is switched off to allow the change to LED to take place, the control units will reset to their factory settings and can take up to 14 days to recalibrate. As the clocks go back an hour for the change from British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time at the end of October, people may particularly notice some street lights switching off an hour early for a short time. This should resolve itself within a couple of weeks.