Edinburgh to get low-energy street lights

Electrician Keith McIntyre with one of the energy-saving street lights to be put in place in Slateford. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Electrician Keith McIntyre with one of the energy-saving street lights to be put in place in Slateford. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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LOW-ENERGY street lights could be installed across the Capital after pilot schemes were voted a success.

Council chief executive Sue Bruce is due to have talks in the next few weeks with senior officials from the Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank about how the project is to be funded.

Pilot schemes, launched last October in Saughton Mains and Gilmerton Dykes, found the “green” lighting cut costs and went down well with residents.

It also led to improved environmental performance, brighter and clearer lighting and met European Union directives to remove inefficient electrical equipment.

Following the positive feedback from residents, the low-energy bulbs have been left in place.

Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart said he had conducted a survey of the streets involved in the Saughton Mains pilot and found 85 per cent of people felt safer with the new lights; 94 per cent reported better visibility at night and 95 per cent agreed the light was better than the old sodium bulbs.
The vast majority – 93 per cent – backed the idea of the low-energy lights being introduced city-wide.

“Everyone loves it,” he said. “I would like to see it being rolled out across Edinburgh.”
Mr Crockart said the bank, which helps pump-prime environmentally-friendly projects which would not otherwise get backing, had designed a specific finance product for local authorities.

“They hope to help local councils find the best products on the market, allowing them to roll out low-energy lighting whilst minimising procurement risks,” he said.

He urged the council to move swiftly to take advantage of the opportunity.

Council environment convener Lesley Hinds acknowledged the pilots were a success.

She said: “Energy costs are expected to rise significantly in the next decade and it’s important the council takes action to mitigate this.

“That’s why we carried out pilot projects where we trialled energy-efficient white lighting, which resulted in positive
public feedback.

“Our street lighting team are always looking at the most up-to-date, energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly technology when it comes to replacing old equipment.

“For example, last week we announced a £1 million project to replace up to 760 aged lamp posts with new aluminium columns which last twice as long and can be recycled. Replacing old street lighting is an ongoing project for the council and gives us an ideal opportunity to save energy and our carbon footprint, as well as to reduce the amount paid to light the city. It also helps to improve safety of residents and visitors.”

The bank said it could not discuss projects which were still being negotiated.