County council cuts costs and carbon footprint with street light upgrades

Cllr Blake Pain with one of the new street lights
Cllr Blake Pain with one of the new street lights

Leicestershire County Council’s energy consumption has been cut by 63 per cent, thanks to a scheme to upgrade street lights.

Last year, the authority finished upgrading 68,000 street lights to LEDs as part of a planned £25 million investment programme.

The scheme which is set to save the authority £2 million a year has already seen a reduction in the carbon produced, down from 14,752 tonnes in 2013/14 to 3,071 tonnes per year - a 78.9 per cent reduction.

This and future reductions in carbon emissions will contribute to the council’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality as a council by 2030 following the declaration of a climate emergency on 15 May 2019.

Councillor Blake Pain, cabinet member for highways, said: “I’m delighted that the LED scheme is already having a positive effect in the county.

“We are committed to providing an economic, safe and sustainable way of lighting up towns and villages and it is great to see residents and motorists already benefiting from the upgraded lighting.

“We will continue to build on this success as we work towards a greener future for the people of Leicestershire.”

The work, which began in February 2016, involved replacing existing street lights and removing unnecessary highway sign lighting.

The new lights are controlled by a central management system. This provides flexibility in how lighting is provided, for example enabling those in part-lit areas to be switched back on temporarily during the evening to help the emergency services at incident scenes if necessary, or to dim or brighten lights if needed.

The annual energy used for 2018/19 was 10.08 million kwh (kilowatt hours) compared to 26.9 million kwh in 2013/14 – a 63 per cent reduction.

The new lights are expected to save around £2 million per annum through a combination of reduced energy bills and lower maintenance costs, as the reliability of the LED bulbs is significantly better that traditional street lights.