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A new NI wide LED street lighting programme has been announced by Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon. The Minister has hailed it as another step forward in delivering sustainable infrastructure across the north.

Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon.
Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon.

£8m will be invested this financial year in new LED street lights across Northern Ireland. These lights, which have a predicted lifetime of approximately 25 years, are energy efficient and will contribute to the Minister’s green agenda.

Speaking on a site visit to East Belfast to see the completion of  a recent scheme on the Castlereagh Road, Minister Mallon said: “Investing in our street lighting programme is very important for me as street lights improve the safety of an area, help tackle anti-social behaviour and are crucial in ensuring those driving, cycling, wheeling and walking can do so safely after dark.    

“Upgrading this infrastructure to LED is also much more energy efficient as well as being environmentally friendly.  I am delighted that all of the energy used to power the street lights the Department is responsible for  is now generated from 100% renewable sources. Up to 1 April 2021, approximately 112,000  new LED units have been installed, representing 39% of the Department’s total stock of 288,959 lights.  This has resulted in a reduction in energy consumption of approximately 24%.  

"This £8m investment that I am making will allow the replacement of approximately 30,000 sodium street lights this year with energy efficient LED units, which represents a further 10% of the lighting network and will deliver a further reduction in energy consumption of approximately 8%, bringing the current total of savings to over 30%. 

"If anyone was in any doubt, the IPCC Report from the United Nations is a stark wakeup call on the need for urgent action across the board to tackle the climate crisis. This investment, alongside my Blue/Green Fund, is about helping us to become more sustainable and to lessen our impact on the environment.  I am committed to doing what I can to protect our planet and to seize this crucial chance for change.” 

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tom R · 1 months ago
    Almost all the benefits claimed by the Councillor are known to be false, she is at best very ill informed and at worst…… There are significant Health, Safety, Environmental and Equalities issues associated with changing Streetlights to LED lights, this is not just changing a bulb as they try to tell us it’s a new and poorly understood technology. LED lighting including street lighting is leading to life changing social exclusion for a growing number of people and more than likely will have a long term negative effect on everyone’s health’s. LED technology is unsettled science, just like in the 60's asbestos was seen as a wonder material and rapidly used in many application LED technology seems to offer solutions to today’s problems but it is acknowledged that we don't fully understand the short and long term health effects and more research is urgently needed.
    If you aren’t aware of this or this seems far-fetched I referee you to the latest SCHEER (Scientific Committee on Health, Environment and Emerging Risks) report on Safety of LED lighting.
    'Since the use of LED technology is still evolving, the Committee considers that it is important to closely monitor the risk of adverse health effects from long-term LED usage by the general population'. There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of research papers and articles on this subject and the number is steadily growing. There is, however, insufficient research and evidence for experts to draw clear and concise conclusions on this complex and relatively new subject. Its importance cannot be underestimated though. LED lighting is a recent revolution which is sweeping the globe for many good reasons, but it is in its infancy. Furthermore, 'reliable information on the dose-response relationship for adverse health effects for the case of the healthy general public is not available in the scientific literature for all wavelengths emitted by LED devices'.
    From Preliminary opinion on potential risk to human health of light emitting diodes.
    The ageing population
    It is well-known and well-understood that the human eye degrades over time. This is evident in the large proportion of those aged over 40 who require glasses for reading, distance vision or both. The bad news therefore contained in the report is that elderly people may experience discomfort with exposure to LED systems, including blue LED displays (which may include white LEDs with a high colour temperature and therefore typically a blue light content) making it difficult to read.
    With the passage of time, the proliferation of LED-illuminated displays or signs will only increase. We know that the proportion of over-60s in the UK population is also increasing. At present about 25% of the population is aged over 60, or the equivalent of 15.3 million people. By 2035, this is predicted to be 29%, or around 21 million people. The statement from SCHEER is therefore not great news for this ‘vulnerable and susceptible’ population.

    There is a charity called LightAware org that supports people adversely effected by Artificial lighting and campaigns to make Artificial light safe and healthy for all. They have seen a dramatic increase in suffers since the roll out of LED lighting. They have just published a report on LED streetlight and there effects on health and I would urge anybody interested in the subject to go to their website and read up on it. It is starting to become a disability and human right issue because we should all be able to use the streets and access buildings without being made ill. There are over 50 health conditions that have photosensitivity as a aggravating factor including Lupus, Autism M.E and migraine. Based on past performance they seem to install 4000k lights when the current recommendations for safety and environmental etc are 2200k to 2700k! who’s going to be footing the bill when these need charging again! Come on council do your jobs properly!
    Thankyou,
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Colin Henshaw · 1 months ago
    “Upgrading this infrastructure to LED is also much more energy efficient as well as being environmentally friendly."

    This is total greenwash.

    Street lighting can never be construed as "environmentally friendly," even if powered 100% by renewable energy. Have these people no concept of the harm caused by lighting to insects and other organisms, including plants?

    "Investing in our street lighting programme is very important for me as street lights improve the safety of an area, help tackle anti-social behaviour and are crucial in ensuring those driving, cycling, wheeling and walking can do so safely after dark."

    Again, this is a falaceous argument. It does not necessarilly improve safety. It may be a truism, but cars have headlight. Most crime occurs in daylight, ergo criminal need light. Street lighting extends daylight into the night-time hours, so criminality and anti-social behaviour can be expected to increase in areas that are well lit. Those intent on going out of night should wear bright clothing and use a torch to enhance visibility.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Noah S · 1 months ago
    It's 2021, LED lights have been used outdoors for over 10 years now. Everyone has been blinded by them at one point or another, why are people still racing to adapt them? These lights will likely be the bright white variety, the variety that is proven to cause blinding glare that reduces visibility at night and makes driving dangerous. The type of lights that scientists have described as "insect genocide" in reports that show the damage white light does to the environment at night. How can a minister that gets payed to make these decisions lack the most basic information on what she is doing? If she is so desperate to jump on the LED bandwagon she should adapt 1800K PC-Amber LED lights, lights that provide better visibility and less environmental impact than their white light counterparts. 
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Keith · 1 months ago
      @Noah S I think LEDs should replace all orange lights in nireland for better light

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