Kent County Council is planning to invest £40million to convert its 120,000 street lights to a centrally-controlled LED lighting system that will reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by 60%, and deliver annual savings of £5.3million.
The council has worked with Salix, an agency of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, to secure an interest-free loan of £22million.
Officers are now exploring options, including securing a grant from the European Union, to find the rest of the money to make the scheme a reality.
The new light emitting diode (LED) lamps will be controlled by a central management system that enables lights to be monitored remotely and detect faults as soon as they develop, so that they can be repaired quickly.
David Brazier, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, explained there are significant benefits:
“LED lighting had been prohibitively expensive, but has recently fallen significantly in cost, with manufacturers now guaranteeing their products for up to 20 years.
“The average increase for energy prices this year has been around 11%. These increases will be further exacerbated by a carbon tax – adding considerably to our costs.
“LED lights are significantly more efficient than traditional lights. Converting our stock of street lights will therefore reduce energy consumption, reduce carbon emissions and reduce our maintenance bill.
“In addition to saving council taxpayer money, it would also mean a better service for residents and businesses in the county.”
The county council has already held meetings with installers and manufacturers to help inform the procurement process.