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New street lighting toolkit gives Scotland’s councils power to save millions

SFT chairman Sir Angus Grossart launching the toolkit with The City of Edinburgh Council employee Graham Murdoch.  

As the cost of electricity is set to double over the next ten years, an easy-to-use toolkit has been launched to give Scotland’s local authorities real-time information on how many millions they would save by phasing in energy efficient LED street lights.

Across Scotland, there are nearly 900,000 street lights costing local authorities £41 million in annual electricity charges. The street lights also impact on the environment by releasing 199,091 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.

Developed by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) and supported by the Scottish Government through its Resource Efficient Scotland (RES) programme, the toolkit allows councils to input their current street lighting data which in turn calculates what the reduced electricity usage would be if they changed to new, energy-efficient LED lighting. The toolkit also calculates what level of investment is required by the council to replace its old lights with new LED fittings, and the payback period of the loan.

With councils under constant pressure to make the best use of limited budgets, SFT is encouraging them to use the toolkit which has demonstrated in trials that the average council can save between 60-70% of their present electricity costs, whilst also benefitting the environment.

SFT chairman, Sir Angus Grossart stated: “Potential savings of 60% to 70% in the electricity usage of street lights can be achieved. I am sure that this will attract strong support from Scottish local authorities, who share SFT’s anthropological sense of thrift, and seek efficiency.”

Lindsay McGregor, associate director at SFT and who leads the street lighting programme, explained: “The latest electricity cost predictions from the Department of Energy and Climate Change indicates that prices are set to more than double over the next ten years. Investing in this new technology now will protect councils from year-on-year electricity rises and the unenviable decision of having to cut back local services to fund increasing electricity costs.

“Once the energy efficiency measures have been implemented, councils can take comfort from the fact that in 25 years’ time they will still be paying less for electricity than what they currently pay. Plus the many millions they save over the next 25 years could be used to support and maintain vital local services.

“Whilst many councils are already investing in LED street lighting, we are working with RES to encourage more local authorities to take swift action and install the new technology allowing them to maximise savings.”

Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “We are currently working on a business case to determine the whole life cost benefits of investing over £16m in new LED street lights for Edinburgh over the next few years.

“SFT’s toolkit provides us with the technical information that allows us to develop a robust business case that will ensure we make the right level of investment in new LED technology to secure millions in future savings.”

To request a copy of the toolkit, please click here