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New street lights a delight for star gazers

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Selwyn star gazers will soon have a clearer view of the night sky thanks to a district-wide street light renewal programme.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has approved a Council business case to fund the progressive removal of about 5,800 old and obsolete street lights in the district, replacing them with new LED light bulbs.

The first stage of the installation planned in 2017/18 will begin in the Ellesmere area followed by Malvern and then Selwyn Central in the following years.

Selwyn District Council Asset Manager Transportation, Andrew Mazey, says the renewal programme is an exciting opportunity for the district as the improved lighting will enhance both personal and road safety.

“LED lights have less ‘spill’ which means light is more efficiently concentrated downwards where it is needed rather than upwards or sideways. People that scan the night sky will really benefit from the reduction in this type of light spill which can dilute the night sky’s darkness,” he says.

“The LEDs are also a much higher standard of lighting for the district’s streets, and use less energy than the wide range of old street lights – some of these have been in use for 60 years and are becoming more costly to operate and maintain.”

The total value of the replacement programme has been assessed at $3.3 million. NZTA is subsidising the cost of Council's programme at an enhanced rate of funding assistance for 85% of the cost, from the 2015-18 National Land Transport Programme as part of a country-wide initiative to encourage more councils to implement renewal programmes.  Selwyn District Council’s share of the cost (at 15%) will be $495,000 which makes this a very cost effective project.

The overall cost of the programme is expected to be paid back over four to six years, based mainly on energy cost savings from the much more energy efficient LED lights.

The Council plans to complete as many renewals as possible during by the end of 2018 under this subsidy.

Street lighting currently costs the Council around $400,000 a year in energy costs, while another $150,000 is spent on routine maintenance such as replacing lamps and other repairs on the older lights and fittings on the network.

Since around 2013 the Council has been requiring private developers to install LED street lights as part of their new subdivisions, and the Council has also been installing these as part of new roading improvements. The second stage of the Christchurch Southern Motorway currently under construction by the NZTA in the district will also use new LED lighting technology to light the new motorway and interchanges.

Last Changed: 13 Sep 2017

 

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