Torbay Council has signed up to the Carbon Reduction Commitment programme which is a Government initiative to tackle climate change.

The initiative commits to improving the energy efficiency of streetlights, and investigating renewable energy sources and measures to ‘re-gain the night sky’.

Executive Lead for Planning, Transport and Housing, Councillor Mark King said: “We are committed to saving money and saving the environment at the same time, so this new LED scheme is a win-win project all around. It’s good to see how technology can provide best value to local residents, cut carbon emissions and be environmentally friendly.”

Torbay Council is committed to finance an innovative scheme to use modern technology by replacing approximately 65% of the lanterns in residential areas with LED.

As lanterns get older they are less reliable, less effective and burn more energy. The annual energy bill for street lighting is around £600,000, this scheme is expected to save over £200,000 a year in energy costs and around 345 tonnes of carbon emissions. The new energy efficient lanterns are more directive, illuminate the areas they are designed to and will reduce light intrusion into residents properties.

Torbay is responsible for maintaining and controlling 14,760 street lights of which approximately 11,751 are in residential areas. Phase 2 of its energy efficiency programme will commence on the 16th January 2017 by replacing approx. 7750 high pressure sodium lanterns on conventional gear in residential areas with LED, this will reduce the local authority's carbon footprint, costs, and assist in its commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 25% between 2010 and 2018. Phase 1 concentrated on main roads where savings made were in the region of £95,000 a year in energy costs.

An interest free loan has been secured through SALIX which will be repaid through the cost savings made from the reduction in energy bills. Salix Finance Ltd was established in 2004 as an independent, publicly funded company and provides 100% interest-free capital to the public sector to improve their energy efficiency and reduce their carbon emissions. SALIX commented that the business case was well put together, robust with good justification for the project.

Lanterns used will incorporate a profiled driver which will reduce the output of the lanterns at 10.30pm by 35% and by 50% from 12.30am until 6pm when it will revert back to 100% output. This will mean that where lights used to be switched off at around 12.30am GMT, there will now be lighting all through the night be it at a lower level. This profiling will be cost neutral if part night lighting had remained.

The project will reduce Torbay Council’s financial commitments and will also benefit residents by providing lighting throughout the night. Other benefits include cut down on sky glow, light intrusion and will benefit the environment including nocturnal animals such as bats.

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