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New LED bulbs a bright idea

White, bright cost-saving lights are about to spread across the district, as Hastings District Council replaces the old Mercury vapour lights with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).

With a confirmed central Government subsidy of 85 per cent for the $5.4 million project, the bulk of the more than 7000 streetlights in Hastings will be replaced over the next 15 months.

The LEDs give off a much brighter and white light, which improves safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, and are much cheaper to run – saving about 60 per cent in electricity costs a year and helping to reduce Councils carbon footprint. The LED lights have a much longer life – 20 years against the four years of the old lamps which equates to significant savings in maintenance costs as well.

About 550 lamps have already been replaced, mainly in Parkvale and Mayfair, with local roads in Flaxmere, Hastings and Havelock North next on the list.

As a bonus, the old lamps are being recycled at the Henderson Rd Transfer Station. Almost every part can be recycled, from the bulbs which are sent to Wellington where the mercury is extracted and on-sold, to the copper wiring, steel bolts, brackets and top casing, which go to a scrap metal merchant.

Works and services committee chairman Kevin Watkins said installing the new LED bulbs is a real step-change for residents. “As well as improving safety, there are also the very large savings in electricity and maintenance costs to be had. It is especially pleasing that we have been able to receive the very generous funding from NZTA which has significantly lowered the cost of installation. This is extremely positive on all levels.”

The street light subsidy is provided by the New Zealand Transport Agency, which said replacing the nation’s 370,000 old lamps with LEDs would save about $10 million a year.

8 October 2017

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