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Oldham and Rochdale PFI scheme

Two Greater Manchester councils are the latest authorities to collaborate on a major initiative that will save both energy and money.

Old out of date street lighting stock, together with major budget cuts, presented a big problem to Rochdale and Oldham Councils. With current replacement regimes and budgets, they estimated it would take over 80 years to bring their street lighting systems up to date.

But now, with a PFI contract signed and sealed, work is starting this week to replace thousands of street lights, signs and bollards over the next 5 years, providing a safer environment and a more energy efficient lighting system.

The programme will be co-ordinated from E.ON’s new base now open on the Kingsway Business Park in Rochdale.

The project will be undertaken by the Community Lighting Partnership (CLP) a consortium comprising consulting engineers Pell Frischmann Consulting Engineers and financiers Equitix Ltd, with E.ON UK Ltd as the principal sub-contractor undertaking the replacement programme.

The new street lighting will also utilise the latest revolutionary lamp technologies such as CosmoPolis that will provide white light in residential and public areas. As well as being more efficient, it will improve the night time environment, making colours more vivid and defined, helping to make citizens and road users feel safer. A remote monitoring system will be used to control the levels of lighting allowing the councils to dim or increase lighting as needed.

One of the largest metropolitan schemes of its type, the project is in two parts:

  • A five year capital programme involving the replacement of over 40,000 columns across Oldham and Rochdale together with a range of illuminated signs, bollards, beacons and sub way lighting that do not conform to current lighting standards throughout both boroughs
  • The maintenance of the whole street light asset for both authorities, for a further 20 years.

Consulting and business services group Mouchel have managed the project from procurement through to mobilisation. Project Director Rob Dawson said:

“We have been keen to help minimise the council’s carbon footprint as well as provide the best street lighting solution.”

“I think this approach of two authorities working together should be replicated elsewhere. It is a clear demonstration of how in these difficult times a major project can be delivered whilst still being affordable. We’ve seen what a great first impression this kind of lighting creates and how it can have a direct impact on how safe residents feel.”

Michael Woodhead, Managing Director of E.ON’s Sustainable Energy business, said inefficient street lighting causes large amounts of wastage:

“Inefficient street lighting causes large amounts of wastage, both in terms of carbon emissions and cost. It’s estimated that inefficient street lighting is responsible for more than 600,000 tonnes of carbon over the last 12 months¹. We’ve already seen examples around the country recently of local authorities resorting to turning off ‘non-essential’ street-lights in a bid save money. But we believe that the investment that Oldham and Rochdale councils are making is a blueprint for local authorities across the country, demonstrating considerable reductions in energy consumption and associated costs whilst keeping the lights on and streets safe for residents.”

Other initiatives to recycle existing redundant materials involved in the asset renewal process will be introduced to further minimise waste.

 This calculation assumes: there are 7.5 million streetlights in the UK; the number of streetlights is increasing by 3.4% per year (the same rate as light pollution, see CPRE); each streetlight has a 100W lamp; 1 kW hr produces 0.43kg of carbon dioxide pollution (DEFRA’s average figure, a mix of coal, gas, nuclear and renewables. e.g. Coal power stations produce 0.9kg/kWh, renewables produce no CO2 emission); that 30% of the light from a streetlight is wasted.

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