Let there be (energy efficient) light

New energy efficient street lights which will save the city millions, increase public safety and lead to fewer lighting faults are a step closer to being rolled out across the Capital.

Energy efficient street light

Councillors on the Finance and Resources Committee today approved a £15.219 million contract with Amey Highways to replace approximately 54,000 street lights across Edinburgh with energy efficient lamps by the end of 2020. 

The move follows a 2014 pilot project to replace 7000 obsolete lanterns with Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights. These 'white light' technology lamps give off a clearer light and can last for more than 20 years compared to existing lights’ current life span of two to four years. 

The crisper light and new technology enhance community safety by making CCTV images clearer and by allowing light levels to be varied. 


The Council has approximately 65,000 street lights, costing around £3m in energy alone every year. Energy costs continue to rise and the current lanterns are becoming obsolete, making them harder and costlier to maintain. 

To pre-empt these increases, £24.5m will be spent on upgrading all the city’s street lights; replacing inefficient lanterns with modern, energy efficient and environmentally friendly ones. This will achieve savings for the taxpayer of £54m over 20 years.

As well as saving millions of pounds, replacing the lanterns will help Edinburgh reduce CO2 emissions and comply with Scottish Government energy efficiency legislation.

A dynamic street lighting monitoring and control system (CMS) will also be installed, giving much greater, centralised control over the city’s lighting. The CMS will provide real-time monitoring and reporting to identify and track faults, which will cut the number of residents' complaints about broken street lights and remove the need for street lighting staff to undertake night-time scouting work to identify faulty lights. 

It will also track actual energy consumption, submitting information directly to the Meter Administrator and increasing the accuracy of energy billing.

Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: "When we rolled out these energy efficient lights as a pilot project in 2014, they were very well received by local residents, who told us they preferred the crisper, brighter light to the orangey glow of the old, inefficient street lights. 

"Now that we've appointed a contractor, we can make the final preparations for rolling out energy efficient street lights to communities right across the Capital. Work is scheduled to start this summer, continuing on a ward-by-ward basis until the end of 2020. We'll make every effort to minimise disruption to residents and businesses throughout and will target information to communities as the roll-out comes to their area."

Papers for today's Finance and Resources Committee can be accessed via the Council website

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