The council started replacing the borough’s 14,000 street lanterns last November. Now the £13.5m project will be delivered faster thanks to £5.1m funding from the Department for Transport and a further £8.2m bespoke financial arrangement with the Green Investment Bank.
The project has also been extended to include all illuminated street furniture, such as lit signs, and replacing or refurbishing ageing street lighting columns. A new central management system (CMS) will also allow the council to remotely manage its lanterns across the borough.
The new low-energy streetlights will more than pay for themselves within their lifetime through energy savings while generating carbon savings for the borough.
Cllr Martin Terry, Executive Member for Public Protection, Waste & Transport, said: “Bringing this popular project forward is a win-win situation. The sooner we replace every lamp in the borough, the sooner we can save money, reduce carbon omissions and provide residents and motorists with brighter, cleaner light.
“Unlike many other authorities in the country, this council was determined not to plunge our borough into darkness as a means of making much-needed savings. Instead we listened to the voice of local residents and opted to invest in green technology as a means of saving money in the longer term. We’ve chosen a pioneering solution that shields residents from an increased fear of crime and poorer road safety that are often associated with turning the street lights out.
“We’re proud to be the first local authority in England to use the Green Investment Bank in this way, securing a favourable financial arrangement that will speed up this ambitious, innovative and hugely important project.”
Gregor Paterson-Jones, managing director of Energy Efficiency at the Green Investment Bank, added: “LEDs can last more than six times longer than standard bulbs. As well as delivering practical cost savings, switching all of the UK’s streetlights could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 475,000 tonnes every year. That’s the equivalent of taking over 200,000 cars off the road. This bespoke financial arrangement is specifically designed to help spread costs. Councils that make similar investments could benefit from immediate cost savings that help alleviate budgetary pressures.”
LEDs can provide 100,000 hours of light, compared with just 15,000 hours for standard bulbs.