Meeting the Climate Change Challenge

Climate change is an International issue and something that Central Bedfordshire Council is working hard to play its part in addressing. The Council recognises that it has a key role to play in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change – both as community leaders and through the services it provides.

Through its alliance with the Carbon Trust, the Council has been able to quantify its consumption of energy and Carbon Dioxide, CO2, emitted through its activities and assets.

The Council knows it is not immune to the impacts of a changing climate. It also knows that it needs to act now to adapt and manage its business to reduce the risks to the public, their communities, businesses, local infrastructure, and the natural environment.

In May 2009, Central Bedfordshire Council was selected to take part in the Carbon Trust’s carbon management programme, which provides councils with technical and change management guidance and mentoring which helps to identify practical carbon and cost savings.

The programme is also helping the Council to produce a Carbon Reduction plan that will form a key part of its approach to climate change and help realise carbon and cost savings. It will also ensure that the Council is prepared for the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme – the UK’s carbon emissions trading scheme starting April 2010. The overarching aim of the programme is to reduce carbon footprint, and street lighting is identified as an area where immediate gains can be made.

Powering traditional street lighting produces a considerable quantity of carbon emissions. Indeed, providing power to Central Bedfordshire Council’s existing street lighting assets accounts for some 10% of its overall carbon footprint.

As such, Central Bedfordshire Council identified street lighting as a prime candidate for immediate investment in carbon-reducing technologies.

The Partnering Initiative In January 2009, Indal WRTL Exterior Lighting launched the Stela product. Stela is a revolutionary Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting solution, offering considerable improvements over traditional lighting technologies. Its power consumption is a fraction of traditional technologies. Stela also has the flexibility for its Clients to balance comfort, costs and care.

Stela is proven to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 68% without dimming, trimming or switching off during the hours of darkness. Compared to conventional lighting, LED street lights produce a whiter, brighter light which also improves public safety. Stela has a 100,000 hour working life with a six year cleaning cycle; again substantial improvements over traditional products and a significant reduction in carbon demand over its forecast 25 year service life.

Stela itself is manufactured using a large proportion of recycled materials, of some 80%. This is most notable in the steel and aluminium materials; themselves high carbon generators in their original manufacture. Recycling reduces market demand for virgin material.

Together, Amey and Indal WRTL knew that for Central Bedfordshire Council to meet their carbon reduction targets replacement of traditional street lights was essential. However they also knew that the Council demanded an economic, sustainable and attractive solution. Representatives from both companies therefore arranged a presentation to explain the benefits of LED technology and the Stela product. The attendant Council Officers immediately saw the potential.

In July 2009, Officers submitted a Lighting Strategy Report to Central Bedfordshire Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Strategy attracted a great deal of support amongst Council Members. Members agreed with Officers’ recommendations to pursue LED technologies and resolved to fund two pilot schemes. Subsequently, two planned end life replacement schemes in East Flitwick and Dunstable were diverted to pilot schemes to use the new technology.

Residents, Members, and all interested parties were invited to a presentation where Central Bedfordshire Council explained its intention to pilot LED street lighting. The meeting gave Bedfordshire Highways and Indal WRTL the opportunity to outline its rationale and the benefits sought, plus answer any queries from residents. The outcome was a very good level of support from the community for LED technology and the pilot schemes were progressed.

The Project

The challenge was to minimise cost, disruption and carbon impact by re-using as much of the existing assets as possible. However, in order to comply with European guidelines it is sometimes necessary to re-space columns in order to meet minimum lighting levels. This results in wasteful removal, replacement and resurfacing work. Fortunately the lighting properties of LED technology enabled lighting standards to be met without the labour, expense and carbon cost which is unavoidable when relocating lighting columns.

Armed with political and public support, summer 2009 Bedfordshire Highways successfully delivered two fully operational areas of LED street lighting in Flitwick and Dunstable. The Stela products were delivered and erected to time, to cost and the agreed quality. A minimum of disruption was caused and no complaints were received, despite the considerable scope of work.

Mindful of the ‘pilot’ nature of the work, Bedfordshire Highways carried out resident opinion surveys and regularly calculated energy consumption from the new technology, monitored lighting levels and measured carbon emissions. It was found that the Stela product was performing better than anticipated and Officers recommended that pioneering LED technology be rolled out across the authority.

The pilot schemes had only been running for a couple of months before energy saving readings began to show almost twice what had been expected. Bedfordshire Highways regularly send figures to NPower for verification through their structured measure, monitor, and minimise programme, which helps support the Council’s commitment towards long lasting and sustainable, carbon and cost reduction.

One Year On

It has now been 12 months since the first Stela LED street light installation and today more than 80 local authorities across the UK have followed Central Bedfordshire Council’s lead. Each is benefiting from the high energy and CO2 savings Stela delivers.

Independent laboratory testing and real installations show that LED technology is reducing energy consumption and cutting carbon emissions by more than ever anticipated. Stela installations are already saving more than 50 tonnes of CO2 and 90 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy per month. In excess of 10,000 units are installed and have accumulated more than 24 million maintenancefree operating hours. Stela’s operating experience increases by more than 3 million hours every month - evidence of the reliability of LED technology. By the end of 2010 some 40,000 Stela street lights may be operating and could be making an annual saving of 2,500 tonnes of CO2, or enough electricity power 1000 homes for a year.

Furthermore, opinion surveys show that people are delighted with increased safety and personal security levels. LED street lights don’t cause nuisance through light spilling into their homes and local authorities across the UK have welcomed its innovative design, cost saving capability and the confidence which ensues from their almost maintenance-free operation. Councillors, residents, corporate climate change policy advisors and highways officials have all commended LED technology and the Stela product. The innovation continues to attract regular attention from all media outlets.

In Conclusion

The partnership between Central Bedfordshire Council, Amey and Indal WRTL Exterior Lighting successfully delivered a real contribution to the truly global challenge of combating climate change.

Stakeholders’ Reactions

Councillor David McVicar, Portfolio Holder for Safer and Stronger Communities, Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “It is great to see our council adopting innovative and new technologies. This eco-friendly scheme will help the council achieve national targets of reducing CO2 emissions.”

Lee Baldry, Highways and Transport Senior Project Manager for Central Bedfordshire Council said: “Stela has underpinned Central Bedfordshire Council’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and running costs in the pursuit of a sustainable society. We recognise that investing in the future is crucial if savings are to be made over the long-term.”

Bedfordshire Highways Electrical and Lighting Manager, Lakhvinder Rathore who designed the lighting scheme, said: “If successful, we will replace Central
Bedfordshire’s 21,000 traditional street lights with Stela LED luminaires.” Indal WRTL’s Managing Director, Anthony Stubbs commented: “Stela delivers the solution to every environmental target set by the government. There is no other product currently available that can match the savings Stela is achieving.

Date of release: 03 May 2010

PR Contact details

For further information contact
Ellen Lloyd
Philip WRTL

Telephone 001215211255