A recently completed street light replacement scheme is going to save Wigan Council £1m a year. The borough’s illuminating programme, which was completed last year, has helped to significantly reduce the council’s energy consumption and lowered its carbon footprint with more than 36,500 LED lights fitted across the network of roads.
As well as saving £1m a year through reduced energy and operating costs, the lights also have a number of other benefits in comparison to traditional sodium street lamps.
In 2018 Wigan Council was awarded the Most Improved Performer at the APSE Awards, which recognises excellence in public services.
Much of this success has been based on the local authority’s project to replace its conventional street lights for more environmentally-friendly light-emitting diode bulbs. They have a longer lifespan, require less maintenance and use nearly 60 per cent less energy.
The lights give off virtually no heat and contain no hazardous substances, do not need replacement lamps and can be controlled by a central computer system, all while providing bright, high-quality lighting on to the street. Coun Carl Sweeney, cabinet member for environment at Wigan Council, said:
“Implementing our award-winning street lighting project across the borough was key in making changes that will ultimately have a positive impact on our environment for the next generation.
“Some authorities are switching lights off to save money but we knew it isn’t what our residents wanted as they are an important part of helping people feel safe and secure both in their communities and while on the roads.
“This innovative scheme helps us to save money through The Deal, which in turn means we have been able to freeze the general element of council tax for the sixth year in a row. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who has been involved in making this scheme a success.”
Residents can report a fault with a street light direct to the street lighting team, visit www.wigan.gov.uk and search for street lighting for more information.
Between April and December 2018, Wigan Council spent £1.8m on street lights, according to financial data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Across England, spending on street lighting has fallen by 11 per cent in the last five years and many local authorities have slashed their budgets by 50 per cent or more. Money saved by switching off street lights can come at the cost of personal safety, the Royal Society said. It added that the risk of driving or walking in darkness “may ultimately lead to lives being lost” if councils are not careful. Head of road safety Nick Lloyd said: “Councils should only reduce lighting if they are sure that it will not lead to an increase in accidents, or put personal safety at risk, and accident rates should be monitored.
“It is also important that councils do all they can to warn drivers, riders and walkers that lights are being switched off or dimmed, and give advice about what they should do to protect themselves.”
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