An ambitious £25million project has been launched by Northumberland County Council to upgrade all of its street lights.
The authority announced it has appointed Galliford Try Infrastructure Limited, part of the national house building and construction group, to deliver the design contract for the project, which will start in August.
Up to 16,000 street lighting columns will be replaced and all street-lighting lamps will be fitted with new eco-friendly and fully controlled LED lantern units with the capability to vary the lighting levels, while maintaining public safety. This will significantly reduce light pollution, slash energy and maintenance costs and cut carbon emissions.
The council has also made a commitment that all public buildings and signs will be down-lighted with LEDs instead of floodlighting with tungsten lights. This follows on the recent dark skies award granted to Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water and Forest Park in December 2013.
As with many similar authorities, Northumberland has seen a big increase in street lighting energy costs over recent years, along with the introduction of the Carbon Tax.
A significant proportion of the lighting stock in the county is relatively old and inefficient. The current street lights are using excessive energy compared to modern units and cost more to maintain.
The council has secured funding on an ‘Invest to Save’ basis. This funding will be repaid over 25 years from the anticipated budget savings.
Barry Rowland, Executive Director (Place), at Northumberland County Council, said: “This is a huge task to completely modernise our street lighting in the county.
“We expect to make savings in excess of 50 per cent in both the energy and maintenance budgets through the investment in new technology, which should achieve savings of around £200,000 per year.”
Matthew Burke, highway maintenance director of Galliford Try Infrastructure, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded the design contract by Northumberland County Council. We have a strong track record in street lighting and other highways works and look forward to bringing our experience to bear on this exciting, new project which will have such far-reaching and long-lasting benefits for the county.”
The project will be delivered over a three-year period through a joint venture with Galliford Try Infrastructure Limited.
The contractor will have responsibility for design during the duration of the project. The contractor will also work with the council to develop a programme of works for the project that will be published on the council website, and updated as the project progresses.