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West Suffolk Council’s plan to replace street lights with LEDs a ‘success story’, says councillor

West Suffolk Council’s plan to replace street lights with LEDs a ‘success story’, says councillor

A plan to replace the city’s street lights with LEDs is a “success story,” a city councilor said.

West Suffolk Council announced in September last year that it would spend £1 million replacing around 1,500 street lights owned by the community and council, and reimburse the cost of replacements made since April 2022.

During last night’s cabinet meeting, Councillor Gerald Kelly, who oversaw the implementation of the programme, gave an update on what he described as a “success story”.

Street lights in Brandon. Pictured are Councillor Gerald Kelly (left) and Councillor Victor Lukaniuk (right). Photo credit: West Suffolk CouncilStreet lights in Brandon. Pictured are Councillor Gerald Kelly (left) and Councillor Victor Lukaniuk (right). Photo credit: West Suffolk Council
Street lights in Brandon. Pictured are Councillor Gerald Kelly (left) and Councillor Victor Lukaniuk (right). Photo credit: West Suffolk Council

He added: “As far as communities are concerned, it will give them the opportunity to make ongoing savings over time – it’s been an amazingly good exercise in identifying opportunities.”

The scheme is now expected to save over 200 tonnes of CO2 annually (compared to the 80 tonnes originally forecast) and deliver energy cost savings of around £100,000 to taxpayers in the 15 local councils involved.

When asked how this would prove beneficial to West Suffolk taxpayers, Councillor Kelly said: “The bottom line is that when the lights are replaced, electricity bills will drop dramatically – and that’s what this scheme is all about.”

“Either the municipal tax does not have to be increased, or the money can be used by the cities and municipal councils for other purposes.”

At just over £700,000, the programme also came in under budget and councillors decided that the remaining amount should be invested in other carbon reduction programmes.

This means councils can work with community groups to put together bids for some of the funds. These could include, for example, upgrading floodlights on sports pitches to LED lights, solar and battery systems for community halls and the provision of air source heat pumps.

Councillor Kelly said: “This is a great opportunity to make the most of a relatively small amount of money as it can be the starting point for much more.

“If you have a worthwhile concept, we’ll do the rest.”

He also added that the council remains confident that all street lights across all councils in the borough will be fitted with LEDs by March 2025.