Innovation Exchange

LED Light Replacement Programme


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Further Information

As part of the Climate Change Act, there is a legal obligation to reduce carbon emissions from all of West Lothian Council’s activities. The council’s approved Climate Change Strategy and Carbon Management Plan outline our own targets, setting a goal of a 20% reduction in emissions by 2020.  Efficiency measures such as the replacement of street lighting are a key part of the work to achieve our target.


In addition, West Lothian Council was looking for revenue savings to maximise the effectiveness of the funding we have available to undertake our core activities.


Street lighting encompasses the lighting of all types of roads and public areas, assisting traffic safety and ease of passage for all users. It also has a wider social role, helping to reduce crime and the fear of crime, and can contribute to commercial and social use of town centres and tourist locations.


Transport and environmental policy is increasingly emphasising the need to improve conditions for walking and cycling. One factor that has been identified as possibly influencing decisions to travel by these modes is the quality of walking and cycling routes. After dark, lighting has an important role to play in helping create good conditions.


Capital funded phased upgrade to LED street lighting will provide better quality lighting at reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions.


The objectives of investment in LED Street Lighting are: -

  • Reduce the unmetered energy charges and mitigate against future cost pressures
  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Reduce CO2 emissions
  • Reduce maintenance costs over life of installation
  • Reduce overall whole life costs for installation
  • Provide efficient and effective lighting for life of installation
  • Maintain or improve road safety



Theme: Service Transformation

west lothian council logo

As the team embarked on the project it did a full case review of other LED programmes and discussed concepts with the Energy Saving Trust. The team utilised its collaborative working network within SCOTS to compare current thinking and best practise. Discussions took place on the various funding models and on state of the art equipment.


The fundamentals of the project were to develop a replacement programme which maximised CO2 savings, minimised financial outlay, reduced risk in terms of borrowing, and avoided a situation of a future replacement headache.


The council’s aim was to prioritise the heaviest usage lanterns from the outset based on remaining operational life, giving us a maximum return on investment. Existing parts of the lighting units were retained and not thrown away allowing cost to be reduced. Anticipating a reduction in unit price we phased the ordering of the new LED lanterns.


The service worked with the council’s energy manager and Finance Service from the start to ensure that the final business model was robust.


To ensure outcomes are met, energy consumption and costs are monitored on a monthly basis. Project costs were monitored throughout the programme period.

Quality lighting makes a considerable contribution to road safety but it is also important in encouraging people to walk and cycle during the hours of darkness. Street lighting also has implications in terms of crime reduction, the environment and access to public transport during the hours of darkness.


Over the past 2 years as part of the council’s climate change strategy and carbon management plan, Street Lighting has converted 7772 lanterns to LED. This has in turn made annual reductions of 1,897,471kWh from the council’s energy consumption, reduced the council’s carbon footprint by 911tCo2 per annum and saved £189,747 in energy savings per annum (at today’s energy rates).


Over the next 2 years (2016-2018) it is proposed that a further £190,000 in revenue savings will be made by changing 7839 light sources to LED. This includes a reduction in carbon charge of £17,000 and reduction in energy of 1,971,989kWh.

The development of the initial business model was the first challenge as it required a robust asset register and financial model. This resulted in various deliverable models but all with different pay back periods.


Through this complex work the programme partners developed a positive and enthusiastic working relationship which resulted in a better solution that was first thought would be achievable.

The impact of the replacement project is seen by residents, businesses and commuters on a nightly basis. The quality of light is better with far less light pollution but it also costs the council less.


The project was well researched before it was commenced and as a resulted in a programme that achieved its goals with minimal negative comment.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Graeme Malcolm

Roads & Transportation Manager

01506 776633

Case study added to site: February 2017

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