Street lamps under SBC spotlight

A DETAILED business case is to be developed which, if implemented, will see millions spent in the coming years to revolutionise street lighting across the Borders, writes Mark Entwistle.

Scottish Borders Council’s environment and infrastructure committee believes the plan could deliver more cost-efficient street lighting in the region.

Earlier this month, the committee received a presentation outlining the current costs and arrangements for ,street lighting and how savings might be achieved through the use of new fluorescent and LED lights.

Currently the local authority’s street lighting section manages 19,000 street lights, 1,157 illuminated road signs and 30 traffic light arrangements.

Committee members heard that around half of the cost of running traditional, low and high pressure sodium lamps is in the electricity needed to power these units.

The lights using new technology save money because they use much less power and have a longer life, so need to be changed less often.

Traditional street lights have a typical lamp life of four years, while the newly-developed lamps are much more efficient and long-lasting with a lamp-life of 80,000 burning hours, or 20 years.

The committee also noted that using less electricity for street lighting also considerably reduces future carbon taxation on the council, adding to future savings made via the new fluorescent and LED lamps.

Councillor Gordon Edgar, executive member for roads and infrastructure, welcomed the development of a detailed business case.

He said: “It is important that the council investigates alternative ways of providing its services and this ‘spend to save’ project shows benefits through reduced energy, routine maintenance costs, and future carbon taxation which, when set against the cost of investment, demonstrates that the investment should be paid back within eight years.”

The outline business case on the proposed improvements to the council’s street lighting asset formed part of the local authority’s Capital Financial Plan, which was approved on February 7.

The Environment and Infrastructure Committee then agreed on February 14 that the outline business case be further developed and risk assessed to produce a detailed business case for further consideration.