Modernising our street lighting

Project updates

  • We have nearly finished replacing the lights in Sighthill, Gorgie, Fountainbridge, Craiglockhart, Colinton and Fairmilehead.
  • We have also nearly finished work in the Pentland Hills, Newbridge, Kirkliston, Queensferry and Cramond areas with small pockets still to do.
  • We have started replacing lights in Drum Brae and the Gyle area.
  • Don’t worry if you see any lights on during the day whilst we replace lights. This is normal and we’ll sort these as each light is replaced.
  • If you live in a heritage area with heritage lanterns, don’t worry we will replace these lights as soon as we can – there’s been a bit of a delay in the replacement heritage lanterns arriving. 
  • There are some areas of the city that are taking longer than others and our schedule will be updated next month to reflect this. We will also return to complete any outstanding work.

About the project

Many of Edinburgh's street lights are no longer made and can no longer be maintained. We are upgrading our street lights to be more energy efficient which

  • are better for the environment
  • are cheaper to run
  • give off a clearer light
  • can make our streets feel safer.

We started changing the street lights in October 2018 and will finish in May 2021. It will take around 15 minutes to replace each lantern and since we aren't generally replacing the street lighting column we don't expect to cause any disruption to people.

We are going to carry out routine safety and electrical checks on street lighting at the same time so we may need to do a little extra work in some streets.

We are putting in a new street lighting control system which means we will be able to identify faulty lights quickly and without people needing to report them.


The light will look different. It's whiter and clearer than the more orange light we are used to, but isn't a blue light. Based on our trials, we have chosen a neutral white light, like moonlight. We have limited the output and will make sure they are fitted correctly to reduce any glare.

There will be less light spill meaning it lights up roads and pavements better rather than escaping upwards or shining into people's homes or gardens.

The new LED lighting will not disrupt sleep patterns as the level of lighting is too low.

We will use other types of lights in heritage areas to fit in with the surroundings.


The new lanterns can make our streets feel safer at night as

  • there is less glare and dazzle and they light up streets more evenly
  • it's easier to see colours, making it safer for people driving, walking and cycling
  • the clearer light improves the quality of CCTV images.

The new lanterns are better for the environment as they

  • typically use 60% less energy therefore they reduce our carbon footprint
  • light up immediately
  • reduce light pollution and the orange sky glow will almost disappear
  • create less light spillage and it's better directed onto roads and pavements, creating a better environment for birds and wildlife
  • don't use ultraviolet light reducing the attraction of night time insects
  • are nearly 100% recyclable
  • don't contain any harmful substances like in the existing lamps
  • are ideal for Scotland's climate as LEDs work better in cooler temperatures.

The new lanterns are cheaper to run and maintain as

  • they last up to five times longer than existing lanterns
  • they shine for over 100,000 hours, 25 years
  • we will avoid £54m of energy, maintenance and disposal cost over 20 years
  • we currently spend over £3m every year on street lighting energy bill.


We are working in one ward at a time. We expect to take between 4 and 10 weeks in each ward depending on the size of the ward and the number of lanterns to be replaced.

Download the proposed timetable (PDF, 90 KB)
Download the map of the proposed timetable (PDF, 420 KB)

Facts and figures

Street lighting typically makes up 12% to 15% of a local authority's energy budget and lighting accounts for 15% of global electricity consumption.

Download facts and figures (PDF, 113 KB)

See the FAQs from Phillips, one of our luminaire manufacturers.

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