The New Zealand Transport Agency is encouraging road controlling authorities (RCAs) to transition to LED lights by offering funding assistance. Council has been successful in gaining some of this funding and will shortly start upgrading all of our street lights to LED lights. This is good news as Council will be able to use the money which have been spent on LED lighting on other transport projects within our community.
There are many benefits for making the switch to LEDs, including:
- Improved lighting of our footpaths and roads.
- Reduced ambient light shining on the surrounding properties.
- Reduced maintenance costs and longer life bulbs.
- As the light emitted will be concentrated onto the road surface, our roads will be safer to travel on at night.
- Cost savings on power with the new lights.
- Safer environments for people out after dark.
Council are planning to start these works in Cobden shortly. It is expected the actual change over will begin from the week of 8 October and continue for several months. There are 1,400 lights to be upgraded.
Blue light and light pollution
The key reason we light our roads is for the safety of our customers – those people using the road network for personal and business travel.
Some articles published internationally have resulted in a number of misconceptions about blue light in relation to road lighting. Blue light is often spoken about in terms of exposure from sources such as mobile phones, computers and television.
We’re still learning about any potential risks LEDs may bring. There is currently very limited evidence to demonstrate a significant health risk for road lighting from LED sources in relation to road lighting. A 2016 study by Public Health England has indicated reaching unsafe exposure limits for blue light risk would require someone to stare into a streetlight for 2.5 hours from a distance of two metres. Therefore, road users and pedestrians are unlikely to reach such exposure limits from LED streetlights.
There has also been some concern about increased light pollution – which is commonly referred to as “sky glow” – in towns around New Zealand because of the switch to LED lighting. The transition to well-designed LED road lighting – when installed to NZ Transport Agency specifications – will reduce our contribution to sky glow, as only luminaires with an upward waste light ratio (UWLR) below one percent of the total light output are used.
If you have any queries regarding this upgrade, please feel free to talk to our Assets team on 03 769 8611.