If you go out walking or driving at night in Nottinghamshire, you may have noticed something different about your surroundings that you can’t quite put your finger on, writes Coun Gordon Wheeler.
Let me shed some light on what it is.
Since 2013 the county council has been replacing the old ‘yellow’ sodium street lights with shiny new, environmentally-friendly LED alternatives, which provide a distinctively different clean, white light.
Targeting the oldest, least efficient lights first, the council has invested around £11.6 million in replacing 55,000 lights in every district of the county.
And the £7.5 million it’s already saved for taxpayers in annual running costs since 2013 proves it is money well spent.
Not only does it make economic sense, it also makes environmental sense too with energy consumption reduced by 15 million kwh and 14,000 tonnes less carbon produced per year.
The light produced by the LEDs is certainly cleaner and more targeted.
The old lanterns were basically a large lamp in a bowl, throwing light all over and, as a result, people complained they lit up some gardens and driveways.
By contrast, the LED’s produce smaller chips of light directed through lenses to where it’s needed.
To maximise the savings at the times of least use, some lights are gradually dimmed between 10pm and 7am, when movement on the highway is at its lowest.
This is except for areas like town centres, where there are CCTV cameras or where there is a history of night time accidents.
Don’t worry though, even in the early hours when the lights are at their dimmest, there is still a level of light for people who need to be out and about, such as shift works and emergency services.
I’m very proud of what this project has already achieved, and the great team that is delivering it.
And last month it even finished runner-up in the Innovation category at the Association for Public Service Excellence Awards.