Countryside campaigners have given their support to a project to install 88,000 new white streetlights which is helping to reduce light pollution.
Surrey County Council’s award-winning project* is more than a third of the way towards completion, with 36,000 old orange streetlights having been replaced by computer controlled white lamps.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has already been impressed by the way the new lamps help to reduce light pollution in Surrey, revealing a little more of the night sky to stargazers.
Andy Smith, CPRE Surrey Branch Director, said: “This is just the beginning but we look forward to a time when the night skies above Surrey are genuinely dark and are no longer blighted by that seemingly ever present orange glow.
“Surrey County Council is to be warmly congratulated for the work it has done on this. For the CPRE it is about preserving rural character and restoring some of what has been lost to us in recent decades through urbanisation.
“Our campaign against ‘night blight’ goes hand in hand with our work on landscape protection, de-cluttering the countryside, tackling the problem of fly-tipping, safeguarding the green belt and restoring tranquillity to our rural areas.”
Ian Lake, Surrey Country Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “The new white lights have been designed to reduce light pollution. They direct their light downwards where it’s needed unlike the old orange lamps that allowed a lot more light to escape into the night sky. It’s a simple design and one that will have more and more of an impact as the project progresses.”
The new lamps are also making Surrey’s streets safer for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians by producing more natural, clearer light than the old ones, increasing visibility. The project will save around £12 million over the next 25 years and carbon emissions will be reduced by 60,000 tonnes.
The majority of the streetlight replacement work has been carried out in Guildford, Waverley, Spelthorne, Elmbridge and Tandridge.
The contract** with Skanska and John Laing will ensure 99% of Surrey’s new streetlights will be working at any one time following completion of the five year replacement programme. The smart technology means faults are automatically detected earlier so repairs can be made faster.
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Notes to editors
* Surrey’s streetlight project won the Best Public Procurement Category at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, Supply Management Awards 2010 and was commended at the 2011 Government business awards.
** Under the public private partnership contract, the special purpose project company Surrey Lighting Services Limited was created to replace and maintain Surrey’s streetlights.
All 88,000 streetlights in Surrey will be upgraded over the next five years – around 70,000 will be replaced and 18,000 will be refurbished.