Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in Europe, has started an ambitious multi-year programme to replace most of its street lighting stock with remote-controlled LED lighting.
The programme is unprecedented in scale for a public LED project in the UK, and many other local authorities are likely to be watching closely to monitor the progress of England’s second city in installing the technology widely expected to be the future of street lighting.
The street lighting overhaul is part of Birmingham City Council’s £2.7 billion highways maintenance and management PFI project with Amey, one of the UK’s leading public service providers, which will upgrade and maintain the city’s road networks over the next 25 years. Amey says the Birmingham system will create the most advanced lighting system in the world and place the city firmly at the forefront of lighting technology.
Birmingham currently has more than 95,000 street lights, primarily a combination of high-pressure sodium, low-pressure sodium and mercury vapour sources, along with a small number of metal halide and fluorescent lamps. During the first five years of the project, about half of the city’s street lights – some 47,000 lighting points – will be replaced and remote-controlled LED lighting will be installed in residential areas. The rest of the city’s lighting will be replaced or upgraded over the duration of the contract.
For all the residential areas, the existing street lights will be replaced with Indal WRTL’s Stela LED street lights. Indal WRTL will also be providing the traffic route lighting, using its Airtrace 2 luminaire for the traffic route, which use SON sources with dimmable electronic controls.
Amey expects that Stela will also be incorporated onto the traffic route lighting during the initial investment period. Tunnel lighting and signs will also include LED fixtures.
Indal WRTL’s Stela luminaire was specifically designed to use LEDs as a light source. Amey has installed more than 2,000 Stela fixtures to date and says there have been no failures.
The fixtures will no longer be controlled by photo-electric cells or timers, but Birmingham’s entire lighting system will be remotely controlled and managed, allowing for switching or dimming to reflect demand.
The Telensa PLANet central management system can control the lights individually or in groups, whether road by road, by geographical area or by road hierarchy. The system will also enable varying lighting levels to match traffic conditions. If needed, light levels can be raised above normal to respond to an accident or major event.
The long life and minimal maintenance requirements of the new luminaries is expected to cut operating costs, while allowing precise control of light distribution and reducing light pollution and obtrusive light. Indal WRTL says the Stela luminaires have been designed to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 78 per cent and have been installed by more than 80 local authorities.
Mike Notman, Amey’s project director, said: ‘Amey is working closely with Indal WRTL and Birmingham City Council to deliver an innovative lighting solution that will halve the energy consumption for street lighting and help Birmingham City Council meet its carbon reduction target by 2026.’
Anthony Stubbs, managing director of Indal WRTL, said: ‘This project signifies the epic transformation of our industry, a monumental revolution in lighting solutions and is the first time LED street lighting with CMS has been deployed under a PFI in Europe.’