Westminster and Sheffield Switch to LED “Smart Streetlights”

Westminster's LED Smart Streetlights
Already in 2013, we have seen two thematically similar news stories: sodium street lights in the UK are being replaced with LED equivalents.

Cost-effective street lighting has been the focal point of much debate recently, with some councils turning off street lamps altogether.

Replacing the old lamps with LEDs is seen as an alternative to that solution – keeping the streets well-lit and safe.

Westminster’s Smart Streetlights

Westminster in particular is an interesting case, with much of the publicity concentrating on the controls for the new LED streetlights.

Technicians will be able to use an iPad app to control the brightness of individual lights, and they will be alerted to potential maintenance problems via the app.

This is all very futuristic, but Westminster City Council is likely more concerned about the financial savings to be had. A planned 14,000 streetlights will be installed over the next four years to the tune of £3.5million.

But the council assures us those costs will be recouped within seven years: taxpayers will save an estimated £420,000 per year.

Lighting the Streets of Sheffield

Hicks Gate Roundabout - Smart LED Streetlights in Sheffield

(Above: a before-and-after shot of Hicks Gate roundabout in Sheffield, from info4security. Sodium streetlights are on the left; LEDs are on the right.)

Meanwhile, our Northern friends in Sheffield have launched a £2billion project – becoming the first UK city to initiate a city-wide switchover to LED streetlights.

Right now, the city’s electricity costs amount to £3million. The ‘Streets Ahead’ project aims to reduce that to around £1.2million, re-investing the savings into the project.

These new lights will also be controllable, but Sheffield City Council is remaining quiet with regards to the OS they will be using.

These moves could popularise

the technology and drive down the costs. In a world gone increasingly eco-friendly, this can only be a good thing overall.

Some LED streetlights have already been installed in Tijuana and Toronto. Hampshire’s national parks are also home to LED streetlights as they reduce light pollution – stargazers are very happy about this.

But what do you think, valued reader? Is the gradual introduction of LED streetlights a good idea? Are these projects worth the cost?

Photo by Herry Lawford on Flickr (Creative Commons)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.