Thousands of street lights across the city are being upgraded as part of an ambitious £7.8 million project which council bosses say will lead to massive savings for taxpayers.
And engineers say families can expect no extra ‘glow’ shining through their windows from the energy efficient LED lamp heads, which are set to be installed on 27,500 poles.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has drawn up an ordered list of where there the work will be carried out as part of a project. It anticipates the move will generate savings of £830,000 per year, based on energy and maintenance costs and carbon taxes.
Experts say the LED street lights have a service life of up to 20 years and don’t need the sort of regular maintenance associated with the older lamps. New technology will also allow operators to switch them on remotely, receive alerts over any malfunctions and set the amount of light each one emits.
Yesterday, the city council unveiled the project in Goldenhill, the neighbourhood where the first series of upgrades will be carried out.
Councillor Jack Brereton, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This is about saving money and reducing costs for taxpayers.”
The authority, which is delivering the scheme in partnership with SSE Enterprise Lighting Services, is also installing a central management system, allowing the lights to be controlled remotely and faults to be flagged up.
Mr Brereton added: “It will mean we can respond to repairs quickly. Also, these lights don’t shine into people’s windows and the quality is a lot more effective.”
A total of 3,380 streets will be visited by engineers during the first phase of the project, with Sandyford, Trentham, Hollybush and Abbey Hulton among the first.
That first phase will be carried out over the next two years. Officials believe there will be around 8,000 outstanding, including those which would require a whole new column and street lights with heritage value that may need bespoke fittings.
Richard Swan, head of PFI commercial at SSE, added: “The older ones we are replacing are becoming obsolete and, eventually, manufacturers will simply stop making them. By having these, Stoke-on-Trent is keeping up with the trend. They are a lot more energy efficient and are a lot better to maintain.”
Engineers say the new LEDs will produce less ‘sky glow’ and instead focus their light more efficiently onto the service below.
The project has already won the backing of residents and community leaders in Goldenhill. Tom Simpson, secretary of Sandyford and Goldenhill Residents’ Association, said: “In areas I’ve been to where LED lighting has been installed, I think it looks 100 per cent better compared to normal street lights.
“The lights are more efficient and, in the long run, it is going to be more cost effective, which is a good thing. It’s nice to see Sandyford and Goldenhill being the first area to benefit, but also pleasing to see it’s something being rolled out across the city, too.”
Harry Mellor lives in Lewisham Drive, where engineers were out updating the lights yesterday.
The 75-year-old former MEB worker has been left impressed with the impact. He said: “It is a good idea and I can really see the difference. The lighting is a lot clearer.”