The Maintenance and Operations Manager, Infrastructure Programme Manager, Head of Transport and Infrastructure and the Contract Manager from Galliford Try were in attendance at the meeting to provide further information in relation to the Councils LED Invest to Save Replacement Programme.
The proposal to implement the project was made in 2014 by the Head of Service in response to a Central Government directive for all Local Authorities to reduce energy usage. A cost benefit analysis was undertaken at that time which fed into the Invest to Save Programme.
The project was intended to replace all existing street lighting units with LED lamps at a total cost of £7.5 million for approximately 22,000 units of varying types. Other lighting such as for signs, subways and bollards was not part of the project.
Following a bidding process, funding of £5 million was awarded from the Councils Invest to Save Programme. The reduced amount of funding meant that only 70% of the project could be completed in the first phase rather than the whole 100%.
At the same time as the bid for funding, there was a direction from the Mayor at that time to deliver an enhanced highway maintenance programme. The Service Area bid for £15 million over 3 years and was awarded for £10 million. There was pressure to make savings and pressure on capital funding for regeneration in the town. All the bids that were submitted were reduced. Funding for capital highways works was usually from Central Government Capital Grants such as the LTP Highway Maintenance block allocation. Service Areas also seek other grant funding sources that are available. It was noted that the pay-back period for the LED lighting project was estimated at 12 years.
Phase 1 of the project was designed to reduce energy usage as much as possible and as quickly as possible. The Contractor held regular meetings with the Council and Neighbourhood Safety Teams to agree which areas would be included in Phase 1 of the scheme. Areas with slightly higher incidence of the crime and anti-social behaviour were selected initially. The required savings were also considered in terms of some areas that had been over lit in previous years. Some lamps could be reduced by two classes, thus saving energy costs whilst still maintaining British Standards.
The projected cost for completion of Phase 2 of the project was £3.9 million to replace the remaining 30% of the fittings. It was highlighted that this figure appeared disproportionate to the £5 million spent to replace 70% of the fittings in Phase 1.
It was explained that the type of fittings used on Phase 1 were predominantly 20 and 22 LEDs, which replaced the 70 watt lamps and cost £350 per unit. This provided approximately 50 watt reduction in energy use per unit which contributed to achieving the target to reduce energy usage as much as possible. Phase 2 of the project would replace the rest of the stock, the majority of which included the larger units costing approximately £750 each, although there were also still some smaller units to replace.
Newer technology had also improved the LEDs efficiency capabilities however the newer models were more expensive to purchase. The new LEDs had a 10 year guarantee but were predicted to have a 20 year life span. In addition, some of the fittings had to be changed because they were not compatible with the new LEDs and some were now obsolete. There was also a chemical risk from some of the old fittings. Galliford Try had previously purchased cheaper LEDs imported from China, however these had not proved to be good value for money as they had not lasted as long.
It was confirmed that discussions were underway regarding financing Phase 2 of the project. It was anticipated that it might be phased over one or two years. It was also noted however that there was a highways maintenance backlog. The Tees Valley Combined Authority received £59 million of government funding in the last budget and the Council would try to access this funding source.
AGREED as follows that:
1. the information provided was received and noted.
2. the Terms of Reference for the Review were approved as follows:
a) To consider progress made to date with Middlesbroughs LED replacement lighting scheme.
b) To examine the existing budget provision and actual and projected savings.
c) To assess the potential impact of the new lighting with regard to community safety.
3. a draft Final Report on the LED Replacement Lighting Scheme would be presented at the next meeting for consideration by the Panel.