Smart cities plan means smart street lights

Image for smart street lights
Image: Toniflap |

Smart street lights that can charge electric vehicles (EVs) and boost wireless coverage will be rolled out by six local authorities across the UK, as part of a £4m pilot.

The six authorities will receive £1.3m from the government’s Smart Infrastructure Pilots Programme and match it with £2.7m of their own to trial new multi-purpose smart street lights that will house equipment to support the roll-out of advanced wireless networks like 5G or free public WiFi.

The pilots can also carry out a range of functions when adapted – from charging EVs to monitoring air quality, and displaying public information to saving energy with street lighting.

The six authorities are:

  • Cambridgeshire County Council
  • North Ayrshire Council
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
  • Tees Valley Combined Authority
  • Westminster City Council.

Minister for data and digital Infrastructure, Sir John Whittingdale, said: “The way we stay in touch, access information and do business is underpinned by digital connectivity – and a world-class wireless infrastructure will be the foundation for the jobs, skills, and services of the future.

“We want to ensure that towns and cities across the UK are right at the forefront of this connectivity revolution, ready to seize the opportunities it will bring for local communities, which is exactly what these pilots are about.”

He added: “They will help demonstrate how advanced wireless technology can enable areas to innovate and deliver better public services, from rolling out electric vehicle chargers to boosting business growth and helping keep our streets safe.”

The pilot programmes will begin from October 2023 and will run until 31 March 2025.

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