Native Wildlife Impact Under Spotlight in Street Lighting Upgrade

Published on 13 December 2022

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City of Coffs Harbour is to work with Essential Energy to ensure the planned upgrade of street lights to LED technology will not impact on environmentally-sensitive wildlife breeding areas while still providing money, energy and emissions savings.

In July, Council approved the final phase of an upgrade of street lights to LED to potentially save as much as 70% energy per street light and reduce Council’s CO2 emissions by around 558 tonnes each year. The work is due to be undertaken by Essential Energy in early 2023 when 1,307 street lights will be upgraded at a cost of $1.26m.

The upgrade is included in the City’s Renewable Energy and Emission Reduction Plan (REERP).

At a subsequent meeting on 11 August 2022, Council sought a report on the feasibility and scope for installing LED streetlight smart controlled technologies.

City staff undertook the report and its findings were presented to last week’s Council Meeting.

Andrew Beswick, City of Coffs Harbour’s Director Sustainable Infrastructure, summarised its findings and proposed way forward.

“The technology for smart sensors to dim lights and increase the wattage when there are pedestrians in the area is still relatively new. But there are trials underway by Essential Energy and we will monitor those results to assess the feasibility of smart controls for streetlights in the near future,” he said.

“In regard to new subdivisions, the City requires developers to install the streetlights according to specifications.

“Expert advice is to use adaptive lighting controls to manage light timing, intensity and colour, including dimmers and timers, and colour change ability in environmentally sensitive areas.

“The City will work with Essential Energy to install the optimum lighting standards for different parts of the local government area, in particular the most sensitive breeding environments.”