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Main Roads Across Cardiff Could Benefit from £4.4m Smart-technology Investment

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Street lights on main roads and routes across Cardiff could benefit from a £4.4m smart-technology investment if a plan to install 13,608 new street lights is given the go-ahead at a City of Cardiff Council Cabinet meeting on Thursday, June 16.

The rollout follows the successful installation of 24,000 energy-efficient street lights in residential areas across the city which began in October 2014 and has recently been completed.

The new LED lights, which would appear on almost all the city’s main bus routes and strategic highways, are designed to improve the night time environment and to deliver a host of positive outcomes for residents and visitors, including:

  • A reduction in street crime and the fear of street crime;
  • better visual guidance revealing obstacles more clearly;
  • an 8% reduction in the Council’s carbon emissions;
  • a tax payer saving of £800,000 a year in energy costs.

The new LED lanterns use a white-light source which is the same brightness and colour (3000 kelvins) as the lights which have already been installed in residential areas.

Mr Simon Nicholas, the well-known nationwide LED/environmental campaigner and also a Cardiff resident was recently quoted as saying:

“Cardiff and its officers have been open minded and have accepted, considered and acted upon the wider issues, they have carried out consultations and trials with the various stakeholders, and have gone with the right specification. Others need to take note and follow Cardiff’s lead. We have also had meetings with Cardiff Astrological Society and The Dark Sky Society. Both of which had representatives at the consultation nights and are pleased with our intended specification.”

Crucially, however, the new street lights will give the Council better control over the network on main roads allowing it to dim or turn up lights. The technology in the lanterns will also be able to automatically report faults which will speed up repair times.

Cllr Ramesh Patel, Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability, said:

“The Council has been working closely with interest groups and campaigners to ensure that the proposed colour and brightness of the light for the new scheme is appropriate and safe. To the human eye there will be no difference between the residential lighting that has already been installed across the city and the proposed LED lights for the highway network and to date we haven’t received any complaints from the residential areas”.

“Currently, the residential street lights that have already been installed dim from 12 midnight until 6am to save energy at a time when few citizens are utilising the highway network. But the proposed new LED lights are even more advanced and will allow us to have far more control over lighting if necessary.  If, say an accident occurred, we could turn up the lighting to help the emergency services. The lights can also self-report any faults or issues they are having to a central computer. This will enable the Council to be far more efficient at fixing faults.”

The recommendation to Cabinet will be to advertise the new LED scheme to the market by placing an advert in the European Journal in early July. It is envisaged that the contract would then begin at the end of September.