Cabinet Member – Councillor John Wynn Jones
Consider the report of the Head of Highways and Municipal Department
a) Submitted – a report by the Cabinet Member highlighting the Cabinet’s requirements for the Communities Scrutiny Committee to consider more broadly the efficiency savings scheme of the Highways and Municipal Department of a new procedure for replacing street lamps.
The observations of the Scrutiny Committee would be referred to the Cabinet for it to make a final decision.
The bulk changing system meant that the Council was changing lamps every three years in one street or one area, despite some lamps not appearing in need of replacement. As a result of recent developments in lighting technology, where the operational life of lamps such as LED was extending over more years, it replaced the need for a bulk changing system. Consequently, the bulk changing system at three yearly cycles could be abolished and it was anticipated that this could ensure annual savings of £97,000 to the Council in street lighting maintenance costs. In addition, by introducing LED lamps with a switchgear to enable dimming it would extend the lifespan of the lantern even more. This would also reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.
a) In response, the following observations were made:
- The principle was welcomed but assurance that the lighting would be sufficient was required.
- It must be ensured that there would be no impact on public protection.
- The lifespan of the new lamps from 7 – 10 years was accurate and realistic.
- The need to consider that different wards had different requirements. The change had already been welcomed in some communities.
- There was a need to hold discussions with the community councils in terms of suggesting ideas and arrangements to switch off the lights.
- What would happen to the electricians as the lamps would not need to be changed as often?
- How did the scheme comply with the creation of a dark sky status?
c) In response to the observations it was noted that the Council had 17 thousand lamps and that the scheme meant replacing 10 thousand of them with LED technology (1 thousand of them partly – night).
It was highlighted that the Cabinet had agreed for the Department to use £1.4m of investment funding to save the Council from having to undertake the work for the reason that the new LED lamps would offer 260k of energy savings. Additionally, it was noted that creating a dimming effect and using LED was complying with the dark sky scheme, that the new lights would throw light downwards rather than upwards and to the side; that dimming would be trialled in some wards between 10pm and 6am. In terms of undertaking the change, it was highlighted that one less electrician would be required for bulk changes and that one additional electrician would be required for a period of three years for the LED changes. After four years, the number of electricians would need to be rationalised although a scheme would need to be in place by then to introduce suitable lamps for roads and junctions.
ch) In terms of safeguarding the community, the Council would have to
get accustomed to the lights prior to any opinion being reached on whether a
change to the appearance of the lights was dangerous. Standards would have to
be maintained in terms of protecting the public,
therefore, the Department’s attention had to be drawn to any cause for concern.
RESOLVED TO ACCEPT THE REPORT.
The Scrutiny Committee was satisfied with the saving and that it improved the experience for Gwynedd residents on the condition that:
i) the Department monitored the output scale of the lights in terms of public safety,
ii) and hold discussions with Community Councils in the context of part night operation if relevant.