£2.15m bid to replace old lampposts

Keeping Edinburgh lit at night is an expensive business. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Keeping Edinburgh lit at night is an expensive business. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A MAJOR, £2.15 million, project will see ageing lampposts across the city replaced.

Up to 760 tired and battered columns – many significantly exceeding their 30-year shelf life – will be torn down and new eco-friendly lanterns installed in their place at a cost of nearly £3000 per street light.

More than one third of the city’s 57,000 street light stock are ripe to be exchanged for new aluminium-built models requiring no maintenance and that last more than 50 years.

At this stage it is not known which areas of the Capital will get the new lamps – but the News understands the replacement programme will be city-wide after a wide ranging inspection carried out.

Carbon watchdog campaigners have hailed the move given the new lights will consume 50 per cent less energy than the outdated columns.

And the move is also likely to be hailed by community groups, the police and campaigners for women’s safety given poor street lighting is often linked to higher crime rates.

Paul Wedgwood, general manager of the Carbon Trust Scotland, said the city will see a return on its £1m investment within eight years. He said: “Street lighting is a significant cost on local authorities’s energy bills and is typically in the region of eight to 15 per cent of their overall carbon footprint.

“Their electricity bills might see 20 to 25 per cent spent on street lighting so it’s a pretty hefty drain on resources and part of that is because you are looking at some fairly aged infrastructure.”

The new aluminium columns are manufactured from scrap metal and can be recycled again at the end of their life. The modern lamps can last for more than 20 years compared with four years for the current stock.

A report to be debated at City Chambers on Thursday states that the replacement programme will “almost eradicate these highest risk columns” in the city.

Councillor Chas Booth, environment spokesman for Edinburgh Greens, said replacing “dangerous and wasteful” lights with more efficient substitutes was a “no-brainer”.

He said: “A compact city like Edinburgh could easily lead the way in eco-friendly lighting. It is thought energy costs for street lighting will nearly double by 2020.

“The energy saved by using new lighting technologies, in conjunction with column replacements, will reduce the lighting energy bill.”

If given the green light, a rolling programme of structural tests – including electrical testing – will be carried out to establish which lights need replacing first.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport and environment convener, said the replacement plan makes “both environmental and financial sense”.

She said: “They last up to twice as long as the traditional designs, and can even be recycled once finished with. This would be an ideal opportunity to save energy and our carbon footprint, as well as to reduce the amount paid to light the city. It would also help to improve the safety of residents.”