UK ‘should aim for 100% LED streetlights by 2020’

The UK should aim to convert all its streetlights to LED by 2020 in order to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs, says the Green Investment Bank.

The bank, owned by the taxpayer, is providing millions of pounds of funding for LED streetlighting projects, allowing local authorities to pay back the cost from the savings they make on their electricity bills.

At an event hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on lighting, the Green Investment Bank’s energy efficiency manager Gregor Paterson-Jones said: ‘LED streetlighting is currently less than 10 per cent deployed in the UK. The target should be 100 per cent adoption by 2020.’

The bank believes the country could save £200 million in energy costs by turning its seven million streetlights all LED.

‘The challenge has been, while the technology is proven and the savings are fairly well understood, you need capital to do this,’ said Paterson-Jones.

The first council to benefit from GIB funding for streetlights is Glasgow, which is about to embark on the second phase of a major upgrade, in an effort to modernise its inefficient infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions.

One thousand of Glasgow’s streetlights made the switch to LED in a pilot scheme in 2012, and now the city is preparing to upgrade 10,000 more, which are currently a mix of SON, SOX, fluorescent and metal halide. The project is expected to knock about six per cent off Glasgow’s £25 million electricity bill, with no upfront cost.

Brian Devlin, executive director of land and environmental services at Glasgow City Council, said: ‘Why would you not do this? If I’m asked to make a saving, I want to make a saving around supply chain and energy rather than going and reducing schools, social work, front-line service. That’s what’s driving this.’

Pictured: Joan Walley MP with Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive of the Green Investment Bank

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