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Councils would save £millions by accelerating LED street lighting programme

With the cost of electricity predicted to double over the next 10 years, the Scottish Future Trust (SFT) is highlighting to Scotland’s local authorities that they could save themselves millions of pounds and reduce running costs if they accelerated their ‘spend to save’ investment in LED street lighting.

Across Scotland, there are nearly 900,000 street lights of which approximately 35% have already been converted to LED energy efficient street lamps.

However, while a great deal of good work has already been undertaken, SFT’s street lighting experts say, by councils accelerating their LED street lighting investment programmes, additional savings of £175m will be generated over the next 10 years.

Lindsay McGregor, associate director with SFT and who leads the firm’s street lighting replacement programme, explained: “Three councils (West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire) have converted virtually all their street lamps to LEDs and have seen their electricity bills cut by over 60%. Collectively, this is saving them £4.5 million a year which, for example, could pay for a brand new primary school to be built.

“However, 65% of Scotland’s street lights still need to be converted and failure to speed up installation work will mean Scotland’s councils will needlessly pay £17m a year more due to higher levels of electricity consumption.

“Councils have access to money at extremely low rates of interest and with LED conversion programmes typically having a six-year payback, why wouldn’t a council drive this programme forward? It’s a win-win for the council, its communities and the environment.”

Gordon Mackay, head of Roads and Transportation Services, South Lanarkshire Council and Chair of the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation Scotland, said: “We’re now approaching the end of our programme to convert streetlights across South Lanarkshire, with 95% already converted to LED.  The intention is to halve our associated energy costs, so this is a significant area of improvement and one we are pleased to be taking the lead on, with the assistance of the SFT.”

Ronnie Dinnie, Head of Neighbourhood Services at West Dunbartonshire Council, said: “We’ve converted practically all our street lights to LED which has seen electricity consumption reduce by 65%, which is savings us £550,000 a year. Our decision to convert to LED lighting as quickly as possible has proved to be the correct one, as if we hadn’t, we’d have required to find over £8m of additional funding over the next 10 years to offset increases in electricity prices.”

Further details of SFT’s LED Street Lighting Programme can be found via the links below:

SFT's LED Street Lighting Programme

SFT's LED Street Lighting Infographic