LLANDOUGH residents campaigning against new LED street lights have submitted a Freedom of Information request questioning their cost effectiveness.
Campaigners have also raised concerns over the impact of the new LED street lights on their health and questioned many of their Vale Council’s statements over the differences between the old street lights and the recently installed LED lights
Liz Hooper and the Llandough Neighbourhood Watch, who recently launched a petition for the LED street lights to be replaced with the original ones, have teamed up with campaigner Simon Nicholas
Mr Nicholas, originally from Cardiff, has successfully prevented LED lights from being installed in Trafford, Manchester, after raising health concerns about the white light that the LEDs emit.
Liz Hooper, of Uplands Crescent, said they had been in contact with Mr Nicholas after he read about their campaign in the Penarth Times.
“Simon has brought to our attention the concerns that the LEDs are not cost effective as each unit cost around £450,” she said.
“LED lighting uses many types of LED chips from a huge range of manufacturers, and whilst promising savings by using LEDs, the effect this technology could have on our health has not even been considered.”
She added that it was believed there are a number of other health concerns surrounding the LED lights, including risks to people's 'brain health', breast and prostate cancer, and the exposure to white and blue high-power LEDs causing permanent damage to eyes.
She added that traffic accidents were also a concern to Llandough residents as the LED lights do not produce enough heat to melt snow covering traffic signals, and that this could pose a risk to motorists.
Their Freedom of Information request questions how the Vale Council’s claim that "each light saves £27 per year" was substantiated, the exact cost and location of each LED light, as well as their whole-life cost benefit analysis, and their manufacturer warranty in years.
The FOI bid also requests whether any alternative cost-benefit analyses were carried out, such as night time dimming and/or switching to lower wattage bulbs, and evidence of the statements that the LED lights provide a “70 per cent reduction in carbon emissions” and “better illumination than traditional street lights”.
The FOI also questions whether any trials or consultations with the public or locally elected representatives were held into the LED lights before they were introduced.
The Vale Council said in a press release at the launch of the LED lights that the new lights “are expected to provide electricity cost savings of around £27 per light per year” and “offer a 70 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, compared to the old high pressure sodium lights.”
A Vale Council spokeswoman recently ruled out replacing the LED lights with the original street lights.
“Restoring the old lighting is not considered to be a viable option as these units are obsolete, inefficient, consume too much electricity and produce unacceptable levels of carbon emissions.
“Some elderly residents may not perceive the new lights to be as bright as the older type however the LED lights selected for installation throughout the Vale have been designed to adhere to the current British Standards for illuminating roads.”
The full Vale Council statement on LED lights can be read here: http://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/en/our_council/press_and_communications/news_archive/2012/December-1/vale_council_installs_more_led.aspx