Low-carbon streetlights coming to Cambridgeshire

03 October 2023

Today (Tuesday 3 October), the Highways and Transport Committee approved plans to introduce new low-carbon street lighting across the county.

The roll out of newer, more efficient LED (light emitting diode) lights is expected to cut energy consumption from street lighting by more than half.

The Committee heard how existing street lighting uses considerably more energy than modern alternatives. Cambridgeshire County Council is responsible for more than 53,500 streetlights across the county, approximately 47,500 of which are eligible for LED replacements under this scheme.

The Council is committed to making Cambridgeshire a greener place to live and work. Reducing the existing carbon usage of streetlights is therefore vital to achieving net zero carbon emissions from Council assets by 2030.

At the Committee members heard how energy prices have effectively doubled over the last 18 months, with further adjustments forecast this autumn. Choosing to invest now to cut carbon emissions through the installation of energy-saving LED lighting will also significantly reduce Council spending on streetlighting in the future.

Replacing 47,500 streetlights with LEDs will take two years. The work is expected to begin in 2024.

Councillor Alex Beckett, Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, said: “Implementing greener street lighting is essential to helping us reach our target of net zero emissions by 2030, so we’re delighted that new LED lights will represent such a huge carbon saving.

“We’re investing more money in the short-term to reduce our street lighting emissions. I’m extremely confident, however, that within a few years this decision will also start saving Cambridgeshire residents money, which we can reinvest into other county services.”

A number of different options to help reduce the energy use of streetlights were considered by Council officers with a shortlist of solutions put forward to the Highways and Transport Committee for their decision. LEDs were selected because they combined the best opportunity to reduce energy usage with low ongoing maintenance costs – due to the longer average lifetime of these types of lamps. This solution also maintains the current quality of lighting, in accordance with established national standards.

The County Council buys electricity for streetlighting alongside all other council assets from the supplier TotalEnergies through their ‘Pure Green’ tariff. This means that the Council is guaranteed that all electricity purchased comes from 100% renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydro, and is matchable to Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates.

Cambridgeshire County Council owned streetlights are maintained by our street lighting service provider Balfour Beatty Living Places. You can find information on how to report a street lighting fault and likely repair times on our website: www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/roads-and-pathways/streetlighting