Changing bulbs could save Blackpool millions of pounds

Blackpool Council has unveiled plans to switch to LED bulbs for the town’s street lighting in a move which could save up to £6m.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 9:21 am
Updated Friday, 9th July 2021, 9:22 am

The transition would add up to energy savings in one year “equivalent to turning the Illuminations off for 34 years”, according to a report to councillors.

Members of the executive are being recommended to approve the changes when they meet on Monday (July 12), along with borrowing of £4.8m to fund the work which would be met from energy savings.

It would also help the council in its drive to become carbon neutral by 2030 by reducing carbon emissions by eight per cent.

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LED bulbs are set to be fitted to Blackpool's street lights

If the scheme goes ahead, it will see the current sodium lights exchanged for LEDs in street lights, illuminated traffic signals and bollards, traffic lights and pedestrian crossings.

Work would begin in 2022/23 and take around two years to complete.

The council report adds: “The principle driver in recommending approval to implement the change to LED lamps is the demonstration of cost savings to the council in energy and significant reduction in carbon emissions, with its consequential impact on the climate change agenda.”

Many councils across the UK are changing to LED lights which are not deemed to reduce visibility although the Blackpool report adds residents will be “consulted on the change to LED luminaires including explaining details of visual changes that may be experienced.”

The council says electricity costs have almost doubled in the past 10 years meaning it makes financial sense to install LEDs which are significantly cheaper to run.

The annual electricity bill for street lighting is currently nearly £1.2m.

Annual savings of £688,000 are expected, and even with the cost of borrowing to meet the installation costs, the council could see savings of more than £6m over the 20-year lifespan of the LEDs.

The new bulbs would be fitted by the Community Lighting Partnership which in 2009 agreed a a 25-year Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with the council, delivered by its sub-contractor Eon.

Blackpool Illuminations has already mainly switched to LED bulbs, while LED lights were first fitted on the Tower in 2011, before being replaced again last year.

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