Published: 11:35, 19 February 2019
| Updated: 16:50, 19 February 2019
Kent County Council says its on track to significantly reduce its carbon footprint after investing in a major street lighting replacement project.
Bosses say the project is set to save millions each year on the council's energy bills because of the lighting upgrade programme.
The initiative will see all street lighting units replaced with more modern alternatives and the council is also installing a Central Management System (CMS) to control the lights.
The move will help KCC to significantly reduce its annual energy usage and costs, whilst leading the way in limiting its effect on the environment.
In total, more than 120,000 outdated lanterns will be replaced with highly efficient LED luminaires and will significantly lower the authority’s energy consumption.
The new LED fittings will reduce the amount of energy used without compromising on the quality of lighting output.
Upgrades to the CMS will also enable the council to control lighting output and enable the lights to be optimised in various conditions, as well as dimmed if needed.
KCC expects to save 67% on their annual energy bills because of the upgrades.
The switch will also reduce the council’s greenhouse gas emissions, predicted to make annual carbon savings of over 17,000 tonnes of CO2e, which is in line with carbon reduction targets.
The initiative also has the added benefit of reducing maintenance costs for the council, due to the longer lifetime of the LED lanterns.
The CMS is also able to report faults in real time - meaning they can be fixed quicker.
Most importantly, it will have a real impact on the community and we are continuing to receive great feedback that the light quality for residents is much improved. - Sue Kinsella
KCC hopes other authorities will follow suit and move towards the provision of LED street lighting.
Richard Emmett, project manager at the council said: “The LED conversion programme has been a huge project for Kent County Council.
"At its peak we had 17 crews delivering around 492 conversions a day, which gives an idea of its scale."
Sue Kinsella, street light asset manager at KCC added: “The scheme will bring a vast number of benefits, from significant cost savings, both in terms of energy bills and maintenance, to a substantial reduction in our energy consumption and carbon emissions.
"Most importantly, it will have a real impact on the community and we are continuing to receive great feedback that the light quality for residents is much improved.
"It really is a much better form of lighting for Kent County Council.”
The council has been able to make the improvements thanks to a £27m interest-free loan from Salix Finance, an independent, government-funded organisation which provides interest-free funding to public sector organisations to help them reduce their carbon emissions whilst reducing their energy spend.
The loan was used to part fund the £40m project, which is one of the largest UK street light replacement schemes which Salix has worked on to date.
The final phase of this on-going programme is due to complete in the first half of this year.
Once the interest-free Salix loan has been repaid from energy savings, the council will reinvest further savings in other key services.
For more information on the county's street lighting upgrade, click here, or visit YouTube to see a video on the project.