Councils across Tayside still to spend millions on ‘dimmer’ street lights

© DC Thomson
Cars making their way along Perth Road, Dundee.

Councils across Tayside are to spend nearly £10 million on changing remaining lampposts over to LED lighting.

Dundee, Perth and Angus councils have all put aside millions to change street lights in a bid to cut their CO2 footprint.

However, safety fears have been raised in the past over dimmer light levels.

Dundee City Council began transferring the lights in January 2011, and has earmarked £4.8m to complete the changeover. This is expected to be completed within 24 months.

The local authority has received around 1000 complaints each year since the work began, but this rose to 1210 during the fiscal year 2015/16, the year after most of the changeovers occurred. The number of complaints fell to 833 during 2016/17.

It is not known what the exact nature of the complaints were, only that they related to street lighting.

Former Dundee Lord Provost John Letford previously made calls for the level of lighting to be increased, saying he was sure a car accident he witnesses was caused due to dim lighting.

Fintry Community Council has also been fighting for the levels to be increased for several years now, with chairman Ronald Neave saying the darker streets offer opportunist thieves the chance to hide and that elderly people are more likely to fall if they can’t see as well.

Gary Langlands, who runs audiovisual company Vision, Sound and Light, took to the streets of Dundee to measure the brightness levels after Mr Letford’s calls.

Mr Langlands, a former Dundee Chamber of Commerce president, said the lights “just about” fulfilled the minimum standards in terms of brightness.

He also added that there is definitely a difference and the new lights are “much dimmer”.

A Dundee City Council spokesman said: “All of the street lighting in the city meets the current British Standards.

“If anyone has an issue with a specific lamppost or particular street they should contact the street lighting partnership.”

He chose not to comment when asked what benefits the LED lights bring to the city.

£1.7m and £2.05m has already been spent by Perth and Kinross and Angus councils respectively. Dundee Council were unable to separate the amount spent from other previous budget expenditure.

Almost £3m will be spent on transforming the lighting in Angus when the operation is complete. A total of 22,249 lights have been updated since the programme began in 2011 in the county.

The amount of energy used since 2011 has fallen from 8,946,898 kWh to 5,598,859. More than half (58%) of lights in the county are reduced to 70% luminosity between the hours of 10pm and 6am.

However, Angus Council decided not to dim any LED conversions within traffic routes, high crime areas and remote paths, meaning only residential areas and industrial sites would be dimmed between said hours.

In Perth and Kinross, around £1.7m has already been spent as part of their programme, with a projected £2.7m to be spent on completing the project.

To date, 5,748 lanterns have been changed to LED lighting. The amount of power consumption has fallen by around a third since 2011.

Neither Perth and Kinross or Angus councils responded to requests for comment.