Essex Highways, Safer, Greener, Healthier
Ă— Over 10,000 old-style streetlights already replaced with LEDs in Essex
29/10/2021
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Ambitious replacement programme will see 82,000 lights upgraded across the county and save taxpayers millions of pounds.

Essex County Council is moving at the speed of light to upgrade 82,000 old-style streetlights, mainly in residential roads, with LED (‘light-emitting diode’) streetlight technology, over three years.

The ambitious programme began in May, starting with Chelmsford and Basildon, with LEDs being installed district by district until completion in 2024. On average, Essex Highways crews are now upgrading 1,000 lights a week and by the end of September 10,000 streetlights had already been replaced.

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Replacement by LEDs programme

Phase 1

A limited successful trial of LED lamp replacements in areas across Essex.

Phase 2

A two year programme of work to replace 19,000 street lights with energy-saving LED lamps across the county began in August 2016.  The new LED lamps are longer-lasting, require less maintenance and use less electricity than other conventional lamps.

They are set to be installed on all-night street lights across the county and predicted to save taxpayers thousands on electricity costs.

The first phase of work started in Castle Point and Rochford followed by Basildon. This was be followed by crews starting replacement work in Chelmsford and Uttlesford, followed by the remaining districts.

For further information about the programme please view the frequently asked questions found in the Document Section below.

Phase 3 

Essex County Council has installed a further 23,000 LED streetlights on main roads across Essex.

Phase 4

Phase 4 will replace the remaining 82,000 street lights on mainly residential roads in Essex with new LED lights starting work in May 2021.

The programme will delivered over 3 years in 6 stages, with Basildon and Chelmsford being the first stage.

Stage
Borough / City / District
Borough / City / District
1
Basildon
Chelmsford
2
Colchester
Tendring
3
Braintree
Epping Forest
4
Castle Point
Harlow
5
Brentwood
Rochford
6
Maldon
Uttlesford

Phase 4 questions and answers

Select a question to reveal/hide the answer:

When these lights are converted to LED, Essex will save approximately £2.2M a year in energy and maintenance costs, as well as reduced carbon taxes. The LED conversion project will deliver financial payback over ten years and a net saving of £39M over 25 years. Electricity consumption on the affected lighting stock is estimated to reduce by at least 60% as a result of the LED conversion project. LEDs use less electric power in more efficient lanterns and have reduced replacement costs as LEDs last up to 20 years.

Essex County Council is investing £26.8M, including using an interest-free Government loan of £10.3M. When all these lights are converted to LED, Essex will save approximately £2.2M a year in energy and maintenance costs, as well as in reduced carbon taxes.

Each Borough / City / District will be upgraded in turn over 3 years. The current programme for completing a Borough / City / District is: Basildon and Chelmsford in year 1: Colchester, Tendring and Braintree in year 2: Epping Forest, Castle Point, Harlow, Rochford, Brentwood, Maldon and Uttlesford in year 3.

There are approximately in excess of 128,000 street lights of various types, owned by Essex County Council. Essex is one of the largest local lighting authorities in the country for the number of streetlights it maintains.

Lighting designs for each area where the new LEDs are aligned with the British Standard. Visibility for drivers and other road users are expected to be better and colours are more easily recognised under the new lights. We will monitor these lanterns and their effects. Residents could notice a difference to the new lighting and it may take some time to adjust to.

Residents are often surprised at the apparent brightness of newly-installed LED streetlights. LED lights offer a whiter light with better colour-contrast than the older sodium (orange) streetlights, resulting in objects that are more visible for road-users and residents alike. Many people perceive that the light from LEDs is brighter, whereas in fact it is just whiter and clearer. Studies show that our eyes adjust to the new light over a few weeks, so we ask that residents wait for up to 8 weeks after installation for their eyes to adjust to the new lights before contacting us. LED lighting is also more directional, so there is not as much ‘spill’ in other directions as there was with sodium lights. LEDs shine more down onto the road, as they should. The lights we install are aligned with the relevant British Standard.

Supporting Essex County Council’s ‘Net Zero’ commitment, we are also seeking to significantly reduce our carbon footprint and one clear way to do so is to use less energy. The LED lanterns chosen for installation right across the County’s highway network have specifically been designed to dim in stages from dusk, when they switch on, to 1a.m. when they switch off (in areas that retain part-night lighting). This contributes significantly to reduced energy usage and, crucially, reduced carbon emissions, as well as other environmental benefits such as reduced light pollution, or ‘sky glow’. We were unable to dim the old sodium ‘orange’ streetlights.

Yes, particularly because they last much longer than conventional lights. LED’s should last for over 20 years. That means there will be more reliable lighting and it will also reduce maintenance costs as engineers will not have to attend to faulty units.

The average cost should work out at just over £200 per unit. The cost includes the price of the LED lantern itself, the new Telecell remote control unit which links each lantern to the Central Management Systems, the installation cost, any traffic management and the design work and other project management costs. Because the council is buying large numbers of similar units, they will achieve significant bulk discount from the manufacturers.

The installation company has estimated that where there are no major issues, such as prolonged inclement weather, they can install the lanterns at up to 100 per day. The target is to install approximately 27,500 LED lanterns per year

We will follow UK best practice. The lanterns, and all other equipment removed will be properly disposed of with materials being either re-used or recycled in accordance with the latest WEEE directive.

We have to start somewhere. Decision is partly influenced by current fault levels or ones that were installed earlier and are likely to fail earlier.

We will try to be as financially efficient as possible where safety is not at risk. If a “light” is out in an area where we are due to replace lanterns with LED’s, we will avoid carrying out expensive “one-off” replacements. Where a sodium lantern does fail and needs replacing, we will replace it with an LED.

The streetlights we have installed are designed for the local environment they are placed in to try and ensure the right light on the road whilst minimising glare.

Public Health England’s report concluded that “to damage your eyesight you would need to be less than 2 metres away from the lantern and stare at it steadily for 2.5 hours”.

The European Commission Report – SCHEER (scientific committee on Health, Environment and emerging risks) concluded that there is no evidence of direct adverse health effects from LEDs emission in normal use (lamps and displays) by the general healthy population.

The Lighting Research Centre concludes that LED’s present no special concerns for the blue-light hazard over some other common sources in typical use cases because photophobic responses limit exposure to bright sources.

The above reports show that street lighting should not have an adverse effect on people’s circadian (daily sleeping and waking) rhythm. It might be noted that office and home lighting and the use of laptops and mobile phones is somewhat more likely to have an adverse effect.

Colour temperature (CCT) is a way to describe the light appearance provided by a light source. It is measured in degrees of Kelvin (K) on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000. The lower the Kelvin the warmer the light and the higher the Kelvin the cooler the light.

The colour temperature of the LEDs used in Essex is 4000K which is a neutral white light source not a high CCT.

Yes, we will try to put information in local newspapers, on social media (Twitter) and regularly update our LED project web pages.

Yes, some streetlights are owned and maintained by others including town and parish councils or developers and other private companies. They will make their own arrangements.

Before and after LED upgrade in Chelmsford