The Smart Street Lighting Project

What is Bradford Council's Smart Street Lighting project?

It is an all-district LED lantern and ageing column replacement project.

The Smart Street Lighting Project was developed in response to a number of emerging issues, including:

  • Protecting our environment - Bradford Council declared a climate emergency in January 2019 and committed to being part of a carbon neutral city region by 2038.
  • Rising energy costs - Energy pass through charges have risen at unprecedented levels adding extra burden on the Council’s budget.
  • Obsolete lighting materials - The existing, familiar orange coloured SOX lamps ceased production in 2020.
  • Ageing assets - Approximately one quarter of the district’s streetlight columns are in need of replacement.

The Smart Street Project aims to address these issues by:

  • Significantly reducing the Council's street lighting carbon emission footprint
  • Reducing the annual street lighting energy bill
  • Reducing the street lighting maintenance costs
  • Replacing approximately 59,000 lanterns and 17,000 lampposts
  • Incorporating a Central Management System (CMS)
  • Providing LoRaWAN technology across the district to enable SMART Internet of Things (IoT) technologies
  • Sustainable Development – ensuring the modernisation of service delivery achieves significant reduction in carbon generation whilst also developing a smart technology infrastructure for current and future initiatives to support Bradford’s ambition of Clean Growth.

What is 'smart' about the Smart Street Lighting project?

The Smart Street Lighting system is to be controlled by a sophisticated and 'dynamic' Long Range Wide Area Network known as 'LoRaWAN’. LoRaWAN is a networking protocol designed to wirelessly connect battery operated ‘things’ to the internet in regional, national or global networks, and targets key Internet of Things (IoT) requirements such as bi-directional communication, end-to-end security, mobility and localisation services without the issues of bandwidth and needing huge servers.

LoRaWAN provides a secure, low cost, low power communications protocol.

Other IoT capabilities can include sensors to measure ‘things’ like road surface temperature, air pollution or river levels.

Bradford’s street lighting will be operated by a Central Management System (CMS) enabled via the LoRaWAN connectivity platform. CMS systems are the next step in remote dynamic street lighting control. Using a CMS, the operator can choose exactly when to switch each individual street light on or off and increase or reduce the lamp power according to needs (for example weather conditions, seasonal lighting adjustments or emergency events). This allows any number of switching or dimming levels which can provide benefits to residents, pedestrians and highway users in addition to greater opportunity for energy savings and reducing maintenance issues such as fault detection.

The smart street lighting technology is not a type of 5G or CCTV communication tool

Concerns from the public have been raised regards broadband technologies. Our Smart technology uses LoRaWAN, a low power, narrow band form of communication. It cannot transfer images or video. It is not a broadband technology and has no connection to 5G or CCTV type technologies.

Smart street light, showing the top of the light with the 'node' that connects to the central database.

The physical piece of equipment on top on the luminaire is simply the 'node', which tells our central database if the lamp is working or if there is a fault, in turn we can communicate to the node to change the switch on and off times and monitor the energy use.

Why do we want this project?

Carbon reduction

The new LED lights will be more environmentally friendly, reducing the Council's street lighting power consumption by 65% and its carbon emissions by over 6,000 tonnes per year. The Smart Street Lighting Project demonstrates Bradford Council and partners' commitment to delivering Bradford's Climate Change Action plan, launched in February 2020, which will enable the transition to a net zero carbon economy.

Supporting the Sustainable Development Action Plan - March 2020

Sustainable development goals

By helping to tackle climate change while building a sustainable and prosperous economy that works in the interests of everyone and minimises waste and the use of finite natural resources, the Smart Street Lighting project contributes to and enables Sustainable Development Goals.

Improved illumination

The LED lights will provide much better illumination than traditional street lights, making it safer for cyclists, drivers and pedestrians.

Saving money

The new lights are half the price to maintain compared to the older orange lamps and even report themselves when faulty reducing the need for time consuming audits and street lighting reporting systems.

They require significantly less maintenance with each lantern lasting around six times longer than the old low pressure sodium lamps, which also ceased production in 2020.

The project will reduce the burden of rising energy costs to the authority by approximately £2M per year. In terms of the recent huge energy price rises, some of these savings will help mitigate the overall costs preventing further pressures on council budget.

How much will it cost to deliver?

The total cost of the project is £45M.

The Smart Street Lighting project was enabled to get off the ground by a very considerable interest free Government energy savings fund of £19M which has been awarded through Salix Finance. The remaining costs will be financed through prudential borrowing.

The project is projected to save tax payers an estimated £189M over 50 years.

The Smart Street Lighting project will provide highly accurate energy consumption readings giving decision makers better information on how to further reduce energy consumption and bills.

When does the project start?

The project has commenced.

There are 3 key stages of the contract; Survey, Design and Installation. Our delivery partners, Amey OW Ltd, started on site on 1 September 2020 with the first stage of the project works.

Stage 1: Survey

From September 2020 until October 2021, Amey’s teams surveyed the whole of the District’s existing street lighting assets. This provided the necessary information to assess the condition of all our lighting assets.

Emergency works

Amongst the ageing columns were some which were identified in survey to be in a poor structural condition. Where these were severe and posed a risk, the columns were cut down and removed to make safe. Most of these emergency cut downs have now been replaced with new columns and temporary lanterns. New LED lanterns will replace the temporary fittings when the remainder of the street works are in progress. The few outstanding cut down columns have been scheduled for replacement over the coming months unless they are in areas where the main programme is imminent and they can be replaced along with the remainder of the street.

Stage 2: Design

Commenced in November 2020 and will continue throughout the project lifetime. The contractors' design team will design street lighting solutions to achieve sufficient lighting to enable safe movement by pedestrians and cyclists, reducing opportunities for crime and enabling drivers to see hazards on the street. Where street lighting is installed along highways, the installations must comply with current standards of lighting. Throughout this activity, the Bradford Council’s Smart Street Lighting design team will check all submitted designs against contract set standards and requirements.

Stage 3: Installation, fitting and replacement works

This was expected to commence in Spring 2021. However, due to impacts of Covid and global material supply issues, the installation works commenced in June 2021 but suffered a halt of works and periods of cessation of supplies resulting in an adjustment of programme and change of project end date. The installation stage will see older columns replaced entirely and newer columns identified as being in good working order will be retained and all will have new energy saving LED lamps fitted. The installation works progress in professional teams according to the range of skills. This means that some teams will work through a street at different times to another, this work will be coordinated but not necessarily on the same days. For example, the luminaire electrical team are quicker than the column fitting with luminaires, therefore a street may have several luminaires replaced several weeks before the columns in need of replacing and their luminaires are completed. Stage 3 is expected to reach completion by end of August 2024.

The progression of streetlighting installation works has been moving through the district’s wards beginning with Tong and heading north towards Bingley Rural. However, due to the disruption and supply issues, the luminaire installations have progressed much faster than column works. If you appear to have some new luminaires fitted on your street but have older columns and luminaires yet to be replaced, these have not been forgotten the column works will follow.

Works in heavy traffic routes throughout the district will be undertaken at specific periods to minimise road disruption, with some works occurring at night. These will be completed towards end of installation period in 2024.

Specialist works such as heritage assets and difficult to access assets in walls, in gardens etc., are being carried out under separate contract and will be completed between August 2023 and August 2024.

What about lighting in world heritage areas, conservation areas, wall brackets and other specialist lighting across the district?

The more unusual lighting we have around the district has been surveyed along with all the other street lighting and have been individually reviewed by members of the Conservation team to identify, in cases of highly eroded or condemned assets, which can be refurbished, replaced with heritage style columns or replaced with modern columns. Many of the heritage assets have been classed as ‘out of scope works’ with regards to the main installation contract and will have a lighting solution designed and installed separately.

How long will it take?

The entire project is expected to take 50 months with a working completion date of August 2024.

Will I notice any difference?

Yes, you should notice a whiter light source which allows colours to be more easily identified during the night time. The 3,000 Kelvin lighting we have selected for residential areas is a warmer light to some of the temporary LED lights that have been placed around Bradford. The familiar yellow/orange sodium lighting is now obsolete and no longer being manufactured. You will also notice that the new light is focused downwards rather than spilling into surrounding gardens, driveways or fronts of properties. This ensures the footpaths and roads are lit to a sufficient standard. All street lighting designs, luminaires and output are checked against British lighting standards by our Bradford team of lighting design engineers and the light temperature of 3000k avoids the blue spectrum of light in response to Health England and other current research into effects of lighting.

What future benefits could we expect to see?

Beyond more reliable and sustainable street lighting there are numerous benefits to this project.

  • The social value benefits to the region from our delivery partner Amey, represents a staggering £3.5M investment in the district through a multiple number of activities including apprenticeships, school training programmes, local employment, use of local supplier chains and so on.
  • The smarter controllability of the lighting system from a central point means we are looking at ways to provide joined up support to emergency services such as the ability to 'light-up' areas at the site of road accidents or highlight the access roads to public transport following night-time big crowd events.
  • The Long-Range Wide Area Network connectivity that is 'LoRaWAN' has many possibilities for the future. New technologies are being developed every day. At Bradford we have ensured the CMS solution we have is a non-proprietary system meaning new technologies can be developed and used to improve Bradford services in the future. For example, test sites have been set up in Bradford to measure air quality and road temperature to help develop meaningful information about the environment.
  • The new lighting columns could also facilitate the future introduction of a network of electric car charging points in areas where there is only on street parking available.

The Smart Street Lighting project not only delivers substantial energy and cost savings, it also opens up a huge range of clever applications to further improve the way the Council delivers its services.

Reporting faulty streetlights or traffic lights online

You can continue to report issues on our website:

The Bradford Council maintenance and repairs team will continue to operate across the district repairing faults throughout the installation project.

If you have a general enquiry about the Smart Street Lighting Project, contact