Streetlighting trial plan for Berwick

An ambitious three-year scheme to replace over 40,000 streetlights in the county with modern, energy-efficient LED lamps has entered its second year.

Tuesday, 26th April 2016, 8:22 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th April 2016, 9:27 am

The £23m streetlighting modernisation project has already seen almost 5,000 lights replaced and over 3,500 new lamp-posts installed, which are using two thirds less energy than the old conventional lights.

The project is currently delivering a 66% reduction in energy consumption and when complete the overall energy saving is expected to be around 64% - delivering net savings of nearly £300,000 a year.

The work started in the south east of Northumberland in March 2015 and is being rolled out throughout the county this year and next year. So far more than 18% of the overall scheme is now complete.

Councillor Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services, said: “Our streetlighting scheme is continuing to provide state-of-the-art energy efficient lighting, which need minimal maintenance.

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“Thousands of people are already benefiting and we’re also looking at what other benefits this new scheme can bring, such as working to roll-out three trial areas for free street level wi-fi in Ashington, Blyth and Berwick.”

The free wi-fi operates in a similar way to that offered in sports centres and libraries in the county as well as shopping centres and fast food restaurants – with people having to log in the first time they use it. After that they will be connected whenever they pass within range.

The wi-fi speed will allow people to look at social media and check websites – rather than provide enough speed to download films or stream live TV. The signal works in a range of about 30 metres from the lamp posts.

As with any major engineering project, there have been a number of technical hurdles to overcome, particularly around the design of the lamps – which have put the project back a number of weeks.

There are a few areas, particularly in Ashington, which have new lamps but need some extra lighting and this is being addressed.

The plan is to have the project back on track during the summer of 2016 and the additional design work is at no cost to the Council

As well as the streetlights, around 500 illuminated signs will be replaced, and all 1,207 illuminated traffic bollards will be changed to use the new efficient lighting.

A progress report is being presented to the council’s communities and local services overview committee on April 27.