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£30m street light revamp for Leeds

LED lights being fitted in nearby Sheffield in 2013.
LED lights being fitted in nearby Sheffield in 2013.

Ambitious plans to spend £30m upgrading Leeds’ street lights with state of the art technology will be discussed by council decision-makers next week.

Leeds City Council’s executive committee will discuss plans to introduce new LED street lights, which the authority believes could save taxpayers more than £3m a year.

The council believes replacing the 86,000 of the city’s 92,000 street lights with more energy efficient models is needed due to spiralling energy costs.

It added that a “smart lighting” system would also be introduced which monitor gulleys in a bid to improve flood defences and measure road temperatures to aid gritting.

The report claims it will cost around £25m to replace the city’s lights with LED bulbs, while further “smart city” sensors would be installed over four years at a cost of around £5m.

It added: “The service has reviewed the cost benefit of low energy LED lighting. The increasing efficiency of lanterns coupled with escalating energy prices now makes it attractive to invest in replacing significant numbers of lanterns with LED units.

“This report presents the detail of this preferred option to pursue long term energy and maintenance savings.”

The authority believes the LEDs would result in annual energy savings of around region of £2.85m and maintenance savings of around £570,000 a year.

The report added that the remaining 6,000 street lights were already in the process of being replaced by contractors running the street lighting service.

Work would be part-financed by an interest-free government-backed loan from lender Salix Finance Limited.

The report added: “A specific technical case has been submitted to Salix and on the basis of the resulting energy and carbon savings they have provisionally agreed to provide the full amount of funding for the conversion to LED.”

LED street lights hit the headlines earlier this year after experts warned increased exposure can damage eyesight and cause health problems. The document claims a softer form of the lights will be used in residential areas.

It follows a move from the council in 2013 to switch off 3,700 of its street lights for part of the night in a bid to save money.

The council hopes to begin replacing the lights in Summer 2019.

The report will be discussed by the council’s executive board on Wednesday, October 17.