Southend-on-Sea has secured £8.2 million of funding from the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to help the borough’s green streetlighting makeover.
Combined with a £5.1 million grant from the Department of Transport, the new funding will be used to replace 14,000 streetlights and 4,000 illuminated signs and bollards with LED alternatives.
It is estimated that the LED makeover will more than half the council’s streetlighting bill, negating the emission of 475,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. In addition the switch to LEDs would slash £200 million a year of the council’s energy bill. The funding from GIB is through its Green Loan scheme which has been tailored to suit local authorities. Repayments are structured so that they are less than the savings realised by installing energy efficiency measures.
Southend-on-Sea’s move follows a similar one made by Glasgow City Council which implemented low carbon lighting across the city after receiving funding from GIB.
Councillor Martin Terry, executive member for Public Protection, Waste & Transport at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, described the green refit as a “win-win situation”. He explained: “The sooner we replace every lamp in the Borough, the sooner we can save money, reduce carbon emissions and provide residents and motorists with brighter, cleaner light.
“Unlike many other authorities in the country, this council was determined not to plunge our borough into darkness as a means of making much-needed savings. Instead we listened to the voice of local residents and opted to invest in green technology as a means of saving money in the longer term. We’ve chose a pioneering solution that shields residents from increased fear of crime and poorer road safety that are often associated with turning the streetlights out.”
Gregor Paterson-Jones, managing director of Energy Efficiency at the Green Investment Bank, explained why LEDs make financial and ecological sense: “LEDs can last more than six times longer than standard bulbs. As well as delivering practical cost savings, switching all of the UK’s streetlights could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 475,000 tonnes every year. That’s the equivalent of taking over 200,000 cars off the road.
“The Green Loan is specifically designed to help spread costs. Councils that make similar investments could benefit from immediate cost savings that help alleviate budgetary pressures.”
GIB estimates that if the UK replaced all of its 7.4 million streetlights with LEDs it could save £200 million every year in energy costs.