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LED street lighting proposed by Suffolk County Council could drastically cut carbon usage and costs

Suffolk County Council is looking to reduce its carbon footprint by investing £9.8m in street lighting, if an LED street lighting replacement project is given the go ahead next week.

The council recognises the importance of climate change, the need to reduce the effects of this and its role in protecting the environment.

Following a review of its street lighting policy in 2010, and with energy prices set to increase at between 8 per cent and 12 per cent a year, the council has decided the high energy consumption of its existing lanterns is costing too much.

Suffolk County Council wants to upgrade its street lighting to LED lights
Suffolk County Council wants to upgrade its street lighting to LED lights

The council owns and maintains over 60,000 street lights. Back in 2010, the county council took numerous steps to help reduce both the energy costs and carbon footprint of its lighting stock.

This included the introduction of part-night lighting arrangements and conversion to LED for those lighting units that were consuming the highest level of energy.

The proposal to convert the remaining street lighting stock to LED will help to reduce both Suffolk’s energy consumption (cutting about 60 per cent of its energy bill) and carbon footprint (which would reduce by about 80 per cent), whilst providing crisper illumination of the streets for residents. The project will also ensure that Suffolk remains resilient to any future energy price increases.

Recommendations put forward by Councillor Andrew Reid, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs, will be considered at Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, February 25.

Cabinet will consider:

n capital investment of £9.822m to enable all existing street lighting units to become LED with the capability for dimming;

n the setting of a dimming regime to all LED street lighting equivalent to an average power throughput level not exceeding 50 per cent;

n the delegation of authority to the Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs and the Assistant Director of Operational Highways for determining specific levels of dimming that should apply.

Cllr Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs, said: “We recognise the importance of our environment in Suffolk and the impacts of climate change.

“Where possible, we want to ensure that we protect and enhance the natural environment, decrease carbon emissions and reduce the use of scarce resources, for the well-being of future generations and the natural world.

“Initiatives such as this are important in helping us to achieve that aim.

“We will be replacing almost 43,000 lights with new energy saving LED lanterns.

“This will save approximately 60 per cent of our current energy bill which can invested elsewhere.

“We will be able to reduce our carbon usage by around 80 per cent, benefitting residents throughout Suffolk.“

If Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet agrees to the recommendations, the project will be completed in the autumn of 2022.

Full details of the committee paper for the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, January 28 is available on Suffolk County Council’s website under the item 25-02-2020, The Cabinet.

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