The future of Britain was looking much brighter today following the installation of the country’s first — LED street lights.
Dozens of the environmentally friendly hi-tech lights have been fitted on a busy roundabout on the edge of Bristol.
They are expected to save taxpayers more than £4,500-each-year – as well as 25 tonnes of carbon emissions.
The bright white LEDs provide clearer and better illumination than traditional street lights, improving conditions for cyclists, drivers and pedestrians.
Each lamp contains more than 80 tiny bulbs, which have a life span of 60,000 hours or 14 years when lit for 10 hours each day – five times that of a traditional street lamp.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Roger Symonds, cabinet minister for transport at Bath and North East Somerset Council said the LED lights made roads safer.
Mr Symonds, 69, said: ”We understand that this is one of the first instances in the country of this type of technology being used on a major traffic route.
”The lights will automatically adjust brightness levels according to the time of day and also the number of vehicles on the route at different times of night.
”The end result is that Bath and North East Somerset Council saves money on behalf of local taxpayers, cuts our carbon footprint, and makes the route even safer because the lights illuminate the carriage much more clearly for drivers and cyclists.”
The 71 lights have been fitted at the Hicks Gate roundabout at the Bristol end of the Keynsham, Somerset, bypass – the first time LEDs have been used as street lamps on a traffic road.
They were installed last month and replaced traditional street lights which had stood on the road for the last 25 years.
It will take eight years for the LED lights to repay the costs of their manufacture and fitting, which currently stands at £36,000.
The LEDs are Philips SpeedStar and provide bright white light to illuminate the road in five different intensities, depending on the road, visibility and traffic conditions.
Small scale tests of the LED technology have already been conducted by the council on footpaths in Bath using lower wattage lamps.
Kelvin Packer, service manager for highways and parking for Bath and North East Somerset council said he hoped the lights would be rolled out across other areas.
He said: ”The lights have a lifespan of about 60,000 hours meaning that maintenance costs and the time that lighting replacement crews spend on the highway are both reduced.
”Depending on the outcome of this trial, there is the possibility of extending this lighting and associated benefits to other areas of the district.”