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Renfrewshire’s new LED lamps prompt fall in street lighting complaints

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Significant progress with the installation of new LED lamps throughout Renfrewshire has seen a fall in complaints about street lighting.

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Renfrewshire Council began installing the lighting system in May 2016, with the new lamps providing high quality white light that makes it easier to see objects.

Around 21,000 new lights have already been installed and the replacement of the more than 30,600 street lights throughout Renfrewshire is due to be complete this summer.

The new system will bring significant environmental and economic benefits. It will reduce carbon consumption by 60 per cent and save around £750,000 every year.

A report for the Environment Policy Board revealed the effect of this progress, with the area on course to receive fewer lighting-related complaints during this financial year than over the previous 12 months.

There were 356 complaints about street lighting in 2015/16 and figures indicate the number of complaints this year is likely to be smaller.

Between 1 April 2016 and today (Wednesday 25 January) the Council received just 161 queries and complaints relating to the new LED street lighting, of which only 53 were about lights not being bright enough.

Councillor Eddie Devine, the convener of the Environment Policy Board, said: “Adequate street lighting is absolutely essential for our communities and this report shows the new system is delivering real improvements for people throughout Renfrewshire.

“Modern reflectors mean the light is accurately focused on roads and footpaths, which is very different from the old-fashioned orange bulbs.

“The LED system is a clear improvement in terms of the quality of light, but it also achieves a massive reduction in carbon usage and brings significant cost savings that will help us to protect other vital local services.

“Of course the different nature of this much more natural and targeted light is very noticeable, which inevitably takes time for people to get used to, but the response from most residents has been largely positive.”

From 2017 old-fashioned orange street lamps will stop being available so all councils have to move to the new LED technology.

The new LEDs waste very little light compared to orange bulbs, which often left an ‘overspill’ that shone onto driveways and homes.

Renfrewshire Council always considers the overall layout of roads and pavements before the combination and spacing of street lamps is determined – delivering a safe system at every location.

Cllr Devine added: “Our approach is similar to councils across the country but as a matter of good practice we wanted to look at how the new lights are performing.

“The fact that we have only had 125 specific complaints about LEDs out of more than 15,000 installed shows the system is effective.

“As well as providing a natural, high quality white light that illuminates roads and footpaths and makes it easier for people to see, modern LEDs last much longer than the old fashioned orange bulbs.

“While these had a lifespan of only five years, our LED lamps are expected to last more than 20 years – meaning the public will have to put up with far fewer instances of streetlights being out.”

The report for the Environment Policy Board also revealed the decision to bring lighting maintenance and repairs ‘in-house’ brought significant improvements in the response to instances of dark lamps.

In the three month period from September to December 2016 the council completed 98 per cent of street lighting repairs within its target time.

This was a huge improvement on the situation from January to March 2016, when a contractor completed just 78 per cent of repairs within the target time.