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Cumbria Council invests £12.9 million in upgraded LED street lighting

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Cumbria Street Lighting

Work is nearing completion on Cumbria County Council’s exciting street light replacement and improvement programme.

The County Council has invested £12.9m over the past seven years in this major countywide project to replace over 45,000 street lights with more efficient and cost effective LED technology.

The programme has enabled the Council to reduce its annual lighting energy bill by over £1 million, reduce annual energy consumption by 60% and save more than 9,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

As part of the LED replacement programme, the Council believes it will be the first local authority in the UK to use a newly-developed and adaptive LED street lantern which is Dark Sky friendly.

The new LED lanterns are manufactured by Thorn Lighting and use their innovative NightTune LED technology. The lanterns emit a blend of white and amber light which can be automatically adjusted to suit the time of night and level of traffic on the road. Visibility for drivers and pedestrians is not affected by the blended light colour and the scheme is fully compliant with the required safety standards for street lighting.

The luminaries deliver light focused at ground level, preventing light pollution up into the night sky with no visibility of the LED, reducing any potential for glare.

The County Council will be piloting these NightTune LED street lights at five locations in Alston, Warcop, Dent, Glenridding and Ambleside, where lighting was due to be upgraded and/or is situated in a sensitive location. Each site has been selected to cover a diversity of communities and landscape settings, in areas bidding for Dark Skies landscape status nationally – the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks and North Pennines AONB.

This project is a collaboration between Cumbria County Council, the Dark Skies Cumbria project led by the Friends of the Lake District, and the Council’s LED supplier Thorn Lighting UK Ltd, a lighting brand of the Zumtobel Group.

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Highways, said: “I am really pleased our exciting street light replacement programme is nearing completion on schedule. Using the LED technology is helping the council to save over £1m a year in energy costs and reducing our carbon emissions and energy bills.

Cllr Celia Tibble, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Environment, said: “We believe we are the first council in the country to pilot the use of NightTune LED technology. The pilots will allow us to monitor how the lighting impacts on the night-time environment and obtain feedback from each community.”

Cumbria’s Dark Skies Project is backing NightTune lighting. Project Officer Jack Ellerby from the Friends of the Lake District said: “I’m liaising across all the Dark Sky areas in the UK, with the International Dark Skies Association (IDA) and many different organisations and lighting/design professionals. Awareness and concerns over the harmful impacts of light pollution on our night skies, our wildlife, people’s health and wellbeing and the wider implications on greenhouse gas emissions, is growing rapidly.

“Cumbria County Council’s leadership in taking this initiative with Thorn Lighting, puts us at the forefront of finding win-win solutions to provide lighting in ways that do not harm the natural world. I know many areas across the UK are watching with interest in this excellent initiative.”

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