The next stage of Ballarat City Council's light conversion program took place in Wendouree

Wendouree has recently been a recipient of Ballarat City Council’s program to replace existing street lights with LED lights.

The recent work saw lantern conversion take place in an area of Wendouree bordered by Learmonth Road, Ring Road, Grevillea Road and Wendouree West Recreation Reserve and followed on from previous conversions at Lake Gardens.

“I would like to see us move to a complete transition,” Belinda Coates said.

She said there were big savings to be made and benefits for the environment and the program was part of the environmental initiative for which she had been advocating to have an annual budget.

This has resulted in a recurrent budget for the program of $25,000 per annum. 

“We do need to increase this. A few months ago I put forward a motion for us to become carbon neutral and 100 per cent renewable,” she said. 

“We’ll be reviewing LED transition to effect more opportunities to increase the rollout.”

When asked about the controversial impact of LED lighting on light pollution, Ballarat Municipal Observatory manager Judith Bailey said the standards for Australian Outdoor Lighting are currently undergoing revision.  She said she hopes this will introduce a new era of awareness for councils, with good guidelines to provide councils with the best options to reduce light pollution and the associated interference with the natural darkness of the night, which impacts human health. 

“The LED lights being installed around Victoria including the City of Ballarat will save energy and the fittings reduce the level of light pollution as well. A drive around Alfredton will show the lights installed do have less light spill,” she said.

“Ideally the covers over the lights would extend to reduce the light spill ( light going into the atmosphere) to a greater level in the future. The temperature of these lights is higher than the optimum level, for example, they operate in the bluer wavelengths rather than yellow wavelengths which would be a better alternative. The recommendations for which type of LED to install comes from consultants at a state level, as economies of scale can reduce the initial cost.”

The process takes several years she said and in that time, technology has changed and our knowledge about what is beneficial has evolved.

“The cycle of renewal with street lights is over years and as technology changes and our understanding of environmental issues evolves, better technologies will be implemented.” More information about Ballarat street lights, including running costs, can be found at http://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/ps/streetlighting.aspx.