My View, Ros Jones: Shining a light on savings on our streets

Streets Ahead team installing the new LED streetlights

Streets Ahead team installing the new LED streetlights

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Things are starting to look a bit brighter across Doncaster, after the council installed 11,000 new LED streetlights as part of our borough-wide ‘Smartlight’ project.

In the scheme our old energy hungry sodium lamps are being replaced with efficient new LED lanterns, benefiting residents and saving money. In total we’ll be replacing 33,000 lights and the project will be complete later this year.

So why is the ‘Smartlight’ scheme so smart?

Firstly, the system will automatically identify faults, sometimes before the light actually fails. It means no more waiting for someone to report a problem, allowing issues to be fixed more quickly. The lights are also more directional, reducing light pollution and illuminating the areas that matter – roads and pavements, rather than front rooms, gardens and the sky!

Individual lights can be turned up or down remotely when needed, helping at events or when public services need support to deal with an emergency incident at night. And they will last longer. A lot longer. In fact the new lights are designed to last for 100,000 hours, which is the equivalent of around 25 years’ use. Our existing lights only last up to six years before they need to be replaced.

In addition light levels can be set to suit local needs, for example in residential areas or outside shops.

The whiter light emitted by the new lamps also allows for better recognition of colours. So road markings, signs and people can be identified more easily. Where needed, CCTV recognition will also be greatly improved.

Of course using less energy also means we are reducing our carbon footprint.

Finally, these efficient lights will save over £1million every year in running costs, reducing the impact of the Government cuts. The scheme is just one of the ‘invest-to-save’ projects we are delivering to help protect public services in Doncaster.

The new LED lights are different in style, so they may take a little bit of getting used to. However, where they have already been installed the lights are being well received by residents. Please bear in mind it can take a few days for the lights to adjust to the optimal level for the area after they have been installed.

We are investing £8.2m in the new technology, mostly funded by an environmental loan. Our investment will pay for itself in six years, then we will save £1.3m per year compared to the cost of running our current streetlights.

This innovative project is another example of quietly getting on and delivering efficient schemes that make a difference to local residents and taxpayers. While others talk, we are delivering.

To find out when the lights are coming to your area, visit www.doncaster.gov.uk/smartlight