The contract to convert Kent’s 118,000 streetlights to energy-efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology has been awarded to engineering and infrastructure firm Bouygues Energies & Services.
The newly upgraded lighting will be connected to an individual central management system (CMS) that will allow Kent County Council to monitor and adapt lighting levels in the future.
Work to convert streetlights to LED is due to begin in residential areas in March 2016 and will be completed within 38 months. Once completed, this will save Kent taxpayers up to £5.2 million a year.
At the moment, the bill for Kent’s street lights and lit signs is nearly £9.5 million a year in maintenance, electricity costs and the associated carbon tax.
The £40 million project is being partly funded by a £22 million interest-free loan from SALIX, a government organisation, funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It will pay for itself within eight years.
Matthew Balfour, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “By embracing LED lighting in one of the largest projects of its kind in the United Kingdom, we can make significant savings to our electricity bill and cut our carbon footprint.
“We will prioritise residential areas before tackling town centres, and the main roads.”
Kent County Council’s Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee is due to discuss the results of a 10-week consultation in February 2016, which will help inform a new street lighting policy.
Edward Peeke, Managing Director of Bouygues Energies and Services Infrastructure, said: “Kent County Council has shown true leadership in tackling its challenges by embarking on this transformation project.
“We look forward to working with our colleagues at the council to deliver this scheme and to playing our part in supporting the economic and sustainable benefits the project will bring locally.
“This is exactly the approach we believe needs to be adopted across the country to move to a low energy, low maintenance street lighting network.”