The Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP) is this week raising concerns with election candidates about lighting issues.
The ILP is pointing out to them that the lighting industry makes a major contribution to the economy, with 1,700 companies working in the UK lighting supply chain, and that this was recently estimated to be worth £2.3bn to it.
Election candidates are being told that, “over the last decade, many major infrastructure projects have been put on hold and much vital repair work has been postponed. The backlog of repairs to infrastructure such as things like lighting columns, presents a serious risk to the public. Poor lighting makes many places like high streets and shopping centres feel unsafe or undesirable to visit”.
Those ILP members who are approaching candidates are telling them that, “better lighting can greatly improve our local environment, make people feel safer and more willing to go out and shop or visit friends after dark, contributing towards the night-time economy. Investment in modern infrastructure can, however, save the taxpayer money and improve energy efficiency”.
ILP Chief Executive Tracey White has asked members who are able to, to ask candidates about a series of issues:
Addressing the skills shortage in Engineering. Businesses are struggling to recruit within the UK. There are not enough suitably qualified candidates to employ. This will provide a high rate of return on investment in the medium/long term and is essential for the UK to continue to prosper.
Increasing funding for Innovation. We need to do more to promote research and development if we are to continue the successful innovation of recent years. Modern central management systems allow more intelligent use of street lighting; maintaining safety whilst saving money.
Investing in the digital revolution. This is necessary to speed up the introduction to connected cities; and the street lighting infrastructure is an important component of “Smart Cities”. People now expect lighting to be smarter, to operate when needed, and at the appropriate level.
Replacing ageing infrastructure. Research suggests that 3.5% of lighting columns require immediate remedial action or removal and that a significantly higher percentage will require remedial action within a 2-year period. It is many years since there was significant investment in them. Savings made through investment in LEDs should be re-invested in “Smart” lighting columns which can for example control air pollution monitors or improve traffic management.
Tackling issues of energy efficiency and climate change. The Lighting industry has been at the forefront of energy reduction strategies for local authorities and other end users of lighting. Many local authorities have seen dramatic reductions in their energy consumption, but there is still some way to go.
ILP Chief Executive Tracey White says,
“We always encourage member companies and individual professionals to engage with local MPs on these issues. Local Authority members will generally do so via elected representatives, using the specialist knowledge of lighting professionals”.
We are highlighting these issues now so that election candidates will be more aware of them. We are pleased to note that members are already receiving feedback from their candidates and we will use responses to this communication to inform our work with government at all levels after the general election”.
 Local Authorities are bound by a code of conduct which prevents them publicising material during an election period which may be seen to promote or criticise candidates or parties (https://www.local.gov.uk/short-guide-publicity-during-pre-election-period)