Street lighting across West Suffolk set to be converted into environmentally friendly light-emitting diode lanterns

Gerald Kelly and Victor Lukaniuk at one of the street lighting locations in Brandon. Photo: West Suffolk Council.

Street lights across West Suffolk are being converted into environmentally friendly light-emitting diode (LED) lanterns thanks to money from the Decarbonisation Initiatives Fund (DIF).

West Suffolk Council has worked alongside parish and town councils to carry out the work and the fund also covers the cost of essential repairs and any retrospective streetlight upgrades that have been carried out since 2022.

Among the local councils to benefit from the scheme is Brandon Town Council, who are using the fund to convert over 400 lights.

Gerald Kelly, West Suffolk’s cabinet member for Governance, Regulatory and Environment, visited the town to see the progress with the works, accompanied by Victor Lukaniuk, deputy leader of the council and ward member for Brandon Town.

The scheme’s objective is to rapidly complete the environmental upgrades of street lights owned by town and parish councils, bringing them in-line with those owned by West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council that are already in the process of being upgraded.

Switching over 1,600 town and parish council-owned streetlights to LED lanterns represents a crucial advance in cutting energy use and reducing carbon emissions, as well as lowering costs for taxpayers.

The new LED lanterns that are being converted as a direct result of the scheme are expected to save around 120 tonnes of carbon dioxide or CO2 a year. With the addition of the street lights already converted and covered by the retrospective grants, the combined CO2 savings from West Suffolk’s grant scheme will be approximately 200 tonnes a year.

In addition to the environmental gains, taxpayers will also benefit from considerable energy cost savings, typically over 70 per cent.

Using the current energy prices as a baseline, savings could easily exceed £100,000 a year across the 15 local town and parish councils taking part in the initiative.

Councillor Kelly, said: “Fitting LED lanterns makes an incredibly important stride in reducing carbon emissions and helping to tackle the climate emergency we have declared. We are hopeful that all street lights owned by all councils in West Suffolk will be LED by March 2025.”

Councillor Lukaniuk, added: “LED streetlights benefit our community in Brandon by providing more reliable and effective lighting that enhances public safety. They not only reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs, saving taxpayers’ money, but also significantly lower our environmental impact, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future. This upgrade is an investment by West Suffolk Council that will benefit all residents for years to come.”

The conversion will continue through in phases, which started in Brandon in June. Throughout the project, efforts will be made to minimise any inconvenience to the public.

At its meeting yesterday (Tuesday, July 9), cabinet also agreed a follow-on grant scheme for the remaining balance of the Decarbonisation Initiatives Fund which is likely to come to over £200,000 when all street lighting grants have been paid.

This next grant scheme will allow other communities, working alongside their West Suffolk ward councillor, to make bids to decarbonise other community assets by September 2024 and will be publicised later in the summer.

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