Street lighting: LED upgrade
Since 2016 we have been upgrading all our street lights to greener, more energy efficient LED (light emitting diode) technology.
Reasons for the upgrade
We are under pressure to reduce electricity consumption and carbon emissions by as much as 30% by 2030. This is part of the government’s climate and energy framework agreements. We can do this by investing in new low-carbon technology.
The LED project will enable the council to reduce its costs significantly over the next 25 years through energy and maintenance savings. It will also contribute positively to our carbon reduction goals.
The benefits of LED lighting include:
- a reduction in maintenance costs
- using less energy than conventional lighting
- improved visibility
- less light pollution
- improving Bracknell Forest’s carbon footprint, reducing the amount of carbon tax that the council pays
The work includes the conversion of more than 13,000 street light units to LED technology. The new LED lights will have a new central management system.
The lighting is designed to a standard so that the right lighting level can be applied to the different types of street in the borough. LED lighting is a different quality to the old lighting. The light output is far better controlled and is more directional to focus onto the roads and footpaths only.
There is some light projected behind the lighting column however the angle is far sharper, and less light will be projected backwards than with the old street lights.
The new lighting minimises light pollution by focusing the light where it is required. There may be a perception that is brighter because the light source is a different colour however this is not the case.
Health risks of LED lighting
There are no known health issues associated with the LED units we are using.
LED is a low energy light source which has been used successfully and safely in public lighting for several years.
Ornate heritage and decorative street lighting columns and lanterns
As part of the LED project we will be converting around 60 heritage or decorative lanterns across the borough. We have carried out a survey which has determined that the existing lanterns and columns can be re-used. The lanterns will be retrofitted with new LED units so there will be no change to their appearance.
The council currently owns and maintain 79 subways. These subways will be converted to LED providing better illumination. The new LED units will reduce future ongoing maintenance and improve reliability and monitoring.
How the system works
The new LED lighting will be controlled by a wireless communication system. This will allow the lights to be monitored from a central point. As faults are automatically reported, this reduces inspection costs and enables speedier repairs to be carried out.
The system will also allow for managed and controlled light output in the small hours where road usage is significantly reduced.
The council has welcomed public feedback on the 13,000 new LED lanterns installed. As part of the process, our engineers have been collating residents' concerns.
Resolving evidenced problems is an important part of the project. Although compared to the size of the project the number of comments is small, we want to get things right for residents wherever we can.
Reporting an issue
Concerns about LED lighting should be reported to Customer Services. Please provide the location of the street light, along with your name, address and contact details.
Second phase remedial work
Following the successful completion of the LED Replacement Scheme in March 2019, engineers have started a second phase of works to address the small number of residents’ comments about operational issues.
The council having reviewed all the feedback received, commenced this phase of works in October 2019. The council aims to complete the second phase of works by the end of 2021.
Local wildlife habitats
Our Highways Asset Management Team worked closely with our in-house biodiversity team to identify local bat habitats where street lighting exists.
We have carried out an independent bat activity survey to make sure that identified areas are not adversely compromised by the project.
Due to their inherent characteristics LED street lights are designed to emit light directionally far better than all the other types of street lights currently in use on the network. Therefore, the potential for any harmful effect on ecological sensitive habitats is not considered to be significant.