Modernising our street lighting

Project update

  • We restarted our LED street lighting programme on 23 June 2020. We will be working to the Government physical distancing guidelines to keep our teams and the public safe. Please help us by keeping your distance from our teams when they are working.
  • We are revisiting some areas of the city where we have small pockets to complete and some heritage lanterns to put in. This includes Sighthill, Gorgie, Fountainbridge, Craiglockhart, Colinton, Fairmilehead, Pentland Hills, Newbridge, Kirkliston, Queensferry, Cramond, Drum Brae, Gyle, Corstorphine and Murrayfield.  
  • We are finishing up in the Inverleith area.
  • We have already changed some lights in the city centre, but will stop working here and will start again in September. This is to allow for other work to be finished in the centre which was delayed due to Covid restrictions and for new arrangements giving people more space to walk and cycle.
  • We will now start in the Forth ward in July – this includes Pilton, Granton, Wardie and Trinity.
  • It's normal to see lights on during the day whilst we replace lights. We'll sort these as each light is replaced.
  • If you live in a heritage area with heritage lanterns, we will replace these lights as soon as we can - there's been a bit of a delay in the replacement heritage lanterns arriving. If you have lanterns that look like one of the images in the download then the lantern will be replaced like-for-like.
  • There are some areas of the city that are taking longer than others and our schedule has been updated 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 towards the end of 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.

Changes

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, replacing on a like-for-like basis.

Benefits

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.

Timetable

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 64 KB)
Download the map of the proposed timetable (PDF 307 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.

Street lighting project

Telephone: 0800 232 323