9 December 2016

Future bright for super smart street lighting

The city council is set to save more than £200,000 a year and slash its energy and carbon footprint by introducing new LED street lighting.

A total of 20,000 lamp posts will be upgraded, including 1,800 new columns and 18,000 new LED lanterns, using super smart technology that will allow the council to control each individual post throughout the city.

A central management system (CMS), controlled by the council, would also be set up and allow more accurate switch on/switch off times, with staff being able to brighten and dim when needed. Using a CMS to control the city’s street lighting will also reduce maintenance costs.

In the future, through CMS,  the posts could also be used to turn Brighton & Hove into a hi-tech ‘smart city’ by extending city-wide wifi and allowing parking space notification, gully and refuse bin monitoring, adaptable lighting levels, CCTV, number plate recognition and data from air pollution sensors that can be used to provide public information on air quality. 

The new Street Lighting Invest to Save project, given the all-clear by the council’s Policy, Resources and Growth committee last night (Thu 8 Dec), will cost in the region of £8 million over a three year period. But this initial outlay will be paid back within 15 years at current electricity prices and be key to making Brighton & Hove a sustainable ‘future proof’ city. 

Cllr Gill Mitchell, chair of the council’s Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee, said: “This is an extremely exciting project. Installing LED lighting across the city and using the columns for other technologies will bring huge benefits to our residents, businesses and visitors.

“We will save money by cutting our electricity use and be more environmentally-friendly by reducing our energy and carbon footprint by up to 61 per cent. Becoming a smart city means everyone will benefit from our use of the latest technologies while well-lit streets help reduce crime and the fear of crime as well as providing a safer night time street scene.”

Cllr Mitchell added: “To take a ‘do nothing’ approach would mean the council facing rising energy and consumption costs while our finances are being cut.” 

More than 1,000 LED lights have already been successfully trialled in the city, and over the last five years 20,000 columns have been structurally tested with 3,000 replaced. In addition, 3,000 ‘white’ lights were installed and around half of the city’s old underground network replaced.

The new lighting will also reduce both upward light and sky glow, and continue the council’s support for the South Downs National Park’s International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR).

The council has been in contact with other local authorities carrying out similar projects, including Bournemouth Borough Council, Kent County Council and Westminster City Council.

There are no plans to remove any heritage or seafront columns as part of this project.