Somerset gets greener lights

 Somerset County Council is upgrading its street lighting with energy-efficient LED lighting. The lighting upgrade is an initiative that will help meet the county’s goal to hit net zero by 2030. The new lights will be installed in Minehead, Street, and Taunton. 

At present Somerset’s towns and city are currently lit by a combination of conventional and LED street lighting. This project will see a further 20,000 conventional light points upgraded to the Philips TrueForce LED range. As well as cutting emissions, the project is expected to cut energy costs by up to £160k per year. That means the project should be cost neutral within 18 months. During the course of 2023, a second phase of the project will add other districts to the programme. This should accelerate the reduction in energy expenditure and slash carbon emissions.

Somerset County Council worked with Guildford based Signify on the project. They wanted to select lighting that would combine the performance with the traditional aesthetic of the area’s towns and villages. Using retrofit lamps, allows the to use traditional lanterns and still reap the benefits of energy-saving technology. This retrofit solution also avoids higher upfront costs and prolongs the life of traditional lanterns.

Mike Rigby is the Lead Member for Transport and Digital. He explains “The Philips TrueForce product range was well known to us for its reliability and ease of installation. Energy costs are a major concern for public organisations, businesses, and households across the county. We are committing now to 100% LED street lighting. This helps us reap immediate rewards by cutting energy costs. And at the same time, we take a big step forward in our longer-term ambition for a carbon-neutral Somerset by 2030. Having streets lit better than before, ensures citizens can feel more confident and secure during the evenings or nights.’’

Somerset is relatively late to this concept. Wiltshire started a 2 year project to transform all of its LED lighting in 2019 and it was, more or less, finished on time.


  • If lights are changed before required thousands of existing lights will go to landfill, green that isn’t.

  • While itvie great to see this greener better lighting coming along come out thank you Mike Rigby, when will Somerset County Council realise that so much of the population live in rural areas, i.e. not in the town?

    In the Mendip that figure is 40% and it’s similar across the county.

    It’s tempting to think that this long implemented policy of neglect (in place way before this new council) would leave us in rural areas in the dark. Sadly, not, so !

    We are blighted by horrific light pollution, and until the council adopt a proper dark sky policy in force that we continue to have a lot of the county a lit up like a UFO site. Please can I policymakers expand their thinking to include so much of their rural population.

    Wouldn’t that be a change for the better ?

    • Same where I live. When I moved to my house nearly 20 years ago the skies were dark. South Somerset District Council’s policy of unrestrained warehousing on quality agricultural land means that the local landscape is lit up every night by lorry deliveries, security lights and office and warehouse lighting and we have noise pollution as well as light pollution. That’s what happens when people elect LibDems!

  • LED lighting is very harsh and bright – what is that going to do to birds and wildlife generally? In the countryside we are already plagued by very intrusive security lights. Factory sites in open countryside are lit up so brightly that they would not disgrace a floodlit football match. Just appalling, especially when you remember that Somerset is home to some rare species of bats.

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