Street light dimming trial begins next week

A trial dimming of street lights across the city to reduce the council's carbon footprint and save money is set to begin next week.

The city council has updated all its street lights (25,000 in total) to LED bulbs over the past four years, which also allows the bulbs to be dimmed. The new bulbs are brighter and run on less electricity and they are more robust and don’t need to be replaced as often. They are also ‘smarter’ as they are hooked up to a computer system which means each street light can be dimmed or switched on/off.

The upgrade will save the council £10million over 20 years in electricity bills and will also help meet its commitment to reduce its carbon footprint to zero by 2030 – a pledge made when the council declared a Climate Emergency in July.

However, a decision has now been made to generate further savings in electricity and cost, by trialling dimming of street lights across the city.

The trial, which begins on Monday, will see residential areas dimmed by 20 per cent between 9.30pm and 5am and traffic routes dimmed by 20 per cent between 9pm and midnight and by 40 per cent between midnight and 5am. Subways would not be dimmed at all.

As part of the council's phase one budget, it is proposed that this schedule of dimming is introduced permanently from April.

If the trial is successful and the phase one budget proposal is approved by Full Council next week, the dimming regime will become permanent.

Andy Tatt, head of Peterborough Highway Services, said: "Our energy usage has reduced significantly since the installation of the LEDs, however the central management system allows us to reduce that energy consumption further by dimming the level of light.

"The dimming schedule that we are introducing will save the council £100,000 a year - a saving we cannot ignore now our budgets are so tight. It is also estimated it will save in the region of 649MWH which equates to 165 tonnes of CO2 - that's a huge step forward in our goal of becoming netzero carbon.

"We have also found that the new LED bulbs are brighter than the old lamps, so it is likely that the impact on the public will be minimal."