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LED Replacement Project

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In February 2015 the council submitted a bid to the Department for Transports Challenge Fund Initiative, to carry out works to its street lighting asset.  In May 2015 the Department for Transport confirmed that Bedford had been successful in its bid and was awarded £5.3 million over a 3 year period. Bedford Borough Council will add a further contribution of £1.05 million to the project.


As part of the project all street lights within the Bedford Borough area would be structurally tested and replaced where required, all street light lanterns are to be replaced with new energy efficient LED lanterns and a Central Management System (CMS) is to be installed. This work will take place on all of the councils highway street lighting stock – approximately 14,000 street lights.


The CMS is a communication tool that will allow the council to monitor in real time each individual street light. The system has a variety of benefits including fault reporting, control of light output and accurate energy billing. Listed below are some of the advantages provided from using this system and using LED lanterns:


  • Reduced energy bills. Replacing older lighting units with more modern energy efficient units (LED lights).
  • LED lanterns are anticipated to last between 20 and 25 years with less maintenance requirements than traditional street lighting types.
  • The functionality of the CMS also allows other energy saving innovations such as dimming of lights or part night lighting to be introduced, trialled or modified in specific locations without the need for any works on the street.
  • Reduced energy consumption by use of CMS. Precise wattage figures and precise lighting times can be used to calculate the energy used rather than traditional national average times.
  • Street Lighting faults will be reported directly to Bedford Borough Council’s Highways Street Lighting department. This will improve our ability to maintain streetlights and will reduce the number of helpdesk calls and complaints about street lights not working.


This project is essential for the council as the majority of the highway lighting stock is life expired and uses significantly more energy in comparison to new LED solutions.  The council is therefore now working hard to deliver this project in a cost effective and efficient manner.  The structural testing element of the works has now been completed and replacement of columns is taking place.


The outline programme for delivery of this project is as follows:

-       Procurement of a specialist team to carry out the below ground electrical connections required– August to October 2015.

-       Delivery of structural testing of lighting columns – August to November 2015

-       Replacement of defective lighting columns – October 2015 – June 2016

-       Installation of new lanterns and CMS system – October 2015 to April 2018


The council is aware of some life expired aluminium columns in Kempston, therefore this asset has not been structurally tested, replacement of the columns and lanterns commenced in October with the communication equipment to be installed at a later date when available.


The broad current programme for delivery of the new lighting asset is as follows:

-       Kempston (aluminium columns) October 2015 to early 2016

-       Town centre wards commencing January 2016

-       Urban wards and remaining sections of Kempston 2016 - 2017

-       Rural wards and borough owned lighting in the Parishes 2017 to 2018


A detailed programme for the initial phases can be seen here, this will be updated on a monthly basis to confirm which areas are designed, on site or completed.

Click to view the Programme for Street Lighting Improvement


Possible LED Lantern type                                                                                              

Standard Lantern







Possible Standard Steel Column   Standard Column





















Possible Heritage Lantern with possible Heritage column

 Heritage Lantern                Heritage column


Frequently asked questions:

A list of frequently asked questions and answers is provided below, if there are any questions that you have please email the address below. Frequently asked questions will be added to the list below:



 Will all lighting columns be replaced as part of this project?

No only lighting columns identified by the structural testing requiring replacement will be replaced as part of this project.



 How long will the project take to complete?

All works will be completed by the end of March 2018 in relation to this project.



 Will street lighting columns be moved?

The design of the lighting system within each road will be assessed and if required columns will be relocated and replaced, however the basis of the bid is that the vast majority of the columns will not be moved or replaced.



 How will we know when our road is to be treated?

An indicative programme (ward based) will be available on this website from the end of 2015.  A more detailed programme for each ward will be released 3 months prior to the works commencing.  Signs will also be put out on site prior to the works commencing.



 What happens if we have an ornate lighting column currently in our street which has to be replaced?

Heritage style columns and lanterns will only be used in conservation areas and these will only be used for 5m and 6m columns, any other column height in these areas will be replaced with standard column with a standard lantern.  All other areas outside of the conservation area will have a standard galvanised steel column with a standard lantern installed, if a replacement column is required. Where a standard column does not require a replacement in the conservation area, a standard LED lantern will be used. Where a heritage column does not require replacement a heritage lantern will be used.




 What about columns and lanterns in the town centre area and special columns such as those on the town bridge?

Columns and lanterns within these areas will be looked at on an individual basis.  Details of replacement column and lantern will be published on the website once agreed.



 Are lighting columns in parks and car parks included in this project?

The successful bid was only for lighting classed as a highway asset, therefore at this stage these areas would not be included.



 How do I know if I am in a conservation area?

Please see the map below for an indication of where heritage style columns and lanterns will be used in the urban area and for an example of the lantern and column. Within rural conservation areas the same policy will be applied as the urban conservation areas.

Click to view a Plan showing the Conservation Area


Contact details:


Telephone:      01234 718003

Address:       Street Lighting LED Project

                        Bedford Borough Council

                        Engineering Services

                        Borough Hall

                        Cauldwell Street


                        MK42 9AP




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