Switch to energy-efficient street lighting

16 December 2017

In November David Reid drew the attention of TBI directors to a  campaign  to persuade local authorities to change to LED streetlights to save energy,  and noted that Highland Council's performance in this regard was poor.  At the November Admin meeting it was agreed that Martin (then still the Convenor) should write to the council calling for a faster switch to LEDs (and also, at Richard's suggestion, commending the council for improving the Fairy Glen road to a state which was safe and comfortable for cyclists).

In response to Martin's letter and others from Anne Thomas and Allan MacKenzie, Councillor Gordon Adam provided an extract  from a Highland Council report presented to the EDI (Environment, Development and Infrastructure) committee on 8 November.  This showed that the council's performance in upgrading to low-energy street lighting was in fact much better than the campaigners suggested, with 80 - 90% of lighting stock due to be replaced by 2019. 

This is the report extract referred to by Councillor Adam:

The programme to replace old style sodium street lights with more energy efficient LEDs will also produce significant carbon and cost savings.  The initial pilot of this project has already shown some of these benefits, which will continue as the Highland-wide roll-out occurs over a 5 year programme.  Reducing electricity consumption and moving all properties towardsautomated metering (some properties are still on estimated supplies), will enable better reporting and help reduce payments under the CRC scheme.  Our LED program is on target to be delivered in 2019 with approximately 80 to 90 percent of lighting stock being converted, delivering an energy saving of 50%.  We currently have about 28% of stock converted and are aiming to increase installation rates as we now have approval to recruit temporary fixed term operatives to aid delivery for 2017/18.

Carbon emissions from street lighting in 2016/17 have decreased 8% (774 tCO2e) compared to 2015/16, largely due to the replacement of some street lighting stock with more energy efficientLEDs, and despite the overall street lighting estate having grown over that period.  The street lighting LED program is due to be delivered by 2019 with approximately 80 to 90% of lighting stock being converted, delivering an energy saving of 50%, equating to annual carbon emissions savings of ~4,500tCO2e and cost savings of over £1m per annum.  Currently, around 28% of the street lighting estate has been converted and increased installation rates in 2017/18 will be achieved through temporary fixed term operatives to aid delivery.

We are part of the rapidly expanding worldwide Transition Towns movement. The Black Isle is a peninsula of about 100 sq miles ENE of Inverness in Scotland, UK.