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West Suffolk Council scheme to replace streetlights with LEDs a ‘success story’, councillor says

A scheme to replace council streetlights with LEDs is a ‘success story’, a councillor has said.

West Suffolk Council announced it would spend £1 million to replace around 1,500 parish and town council-owned street lights, as well as reimburse replacements made since April 2022, in September last year.

During yesterday evening’s cabinet meeting, Cllr Gerald Kelly, who oversaw the delivery of the scheme, gave an update on what he dubbed a ‘success story’.

Brandon Streetlights. Pictured are Cllr Gerald Kelly (left) and Cllr Victor Lukaniuk (right). Credit: West Suffolk Council
Brandon Streetlights. Pictured are Cllr Gerald Kelly (left) and Cllr Victor Lukaniuk (right). Credit: West Suffolk Council

He added: “As far as the parishes are concerned, it will give them the opportunity for ongoing savings as we progress — it was an astonishingly good exercise in spotting opportunities.”

The scheme is now expected to save over 200 tonnes of CO2 every year, in contrast to the 80 tonnes initially predicted, as well as benefit taxpayers around £100,000 in energy cost savings across the 15 parish councils involved.

Asked how taxpayers in West Suffolk would see benefits, Cllr Kelly said: “The bottom line is that if the lights have been replaced, which is what the scheme is about, then as a matter of course electricity costs are going to basically plummet.

“It’s either the parish precept which doesn’t need to be pushed up or else the money can then be used for other things town and parish councils use it for.”

The scheme also came in under budget, at just over £700,000, with councillors deciding the remaining amount should be invested in other carbon-reducing schemes.

This means councillors will be able to work with community groups and put together bids for a portion of the money — this could include converting floodlights on sports fields to LED, solar and battery arrangements for community halls, and the delivery of air source heat pumps.

Cllr Kelly said: “It’s a terrific opportunity to make the best use of a relatively small amount of money because it can be the starting point for a lot more.

“If you’ve got a scheme that is worthwhile, we will do the rest.”

He also added the council remained hopeful all streetlights owned by all councils in the district would be LED by March 2025.