New bat-friendly customisable light system ready for Penshaw Monument

Penshaw Monument Illuminated September 1988 old ref number 50-9250
Penshaw Monument Illuminated September 1988 old ref number 50-9250
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PENSHAW Monument is set to light up the night sky with an array of colours when new environmental and bat-friendly flood lights are installed.

It means the Grade I Listed landmark could turn red and white to mark football celebrations or other colour-changing effects.

The £43,000 lights will reduce energy costs by up to 80 per cent and save about £8,000 a year in running costs.

The existing lights, installed in 1987, are no longer fit for purpose and must be removed immediately, a planning committee at Sunderland City Council heard.

The 21 lights will be replaced by 18 low-energy, colour-changing LED ones, which will be housed in ground-mounted cases, painted green to blend into the hillside.

The decision was made ahead of the expiry of a statutory public consultation period, due to end on Wednesday, because of the urgency of removing the old system.

“The existing lighting is no longer fit for purpose,” planning officer Danielle Pearson said.

“It needs to be taken out as soon as possible. We don’t feel that there is any reason to delay this application coming before the committee.”

The new lights are dimmable, enabling the intensity of the lights to be turned down between midnight and 6am, which will benefit bats who rely on darkness to come out of their roost to forage.

The meeting was told no representations had been received from the public. However, should any be received prior to the expiry of the consultation, the decision could be revisited.

The report presented to the Hetton, Houghton and Washington development control sub-committee says the scheme will enhance the appearance of the monument at night and improve its visibility from miles away.

The lights will be installed by the council’s street light and road sign contractor Aurora and will be paid for by a Government Salix loan – an interest-free loan that is paid back within five years with savings from the energy bill.