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89,000 Surrey street lights to be converted to environmentally-friendly LEDs

A major £20 million programme to convert all Surrey’s street lights to energy-efficient LEDs has begun.

It’s expected to take three years to change all 89,000 lights in the county. Work started in Guildford borough earlier this year, with lights in Surrey Heath and Waverley due to be converted in the coming months.

Surrey County Council currently spends £3.8 million a year on energy for street lights. By converting to LED, we will use around 65% less energy, which will save £2 million a year (based on February 2020 prices). If energy prices continue to rise, the saving will be even greater. The new LED street lights will last for 20 years – six times longer than traditional bulbs.

Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “Investing in LED street lights demonstrates our commitment to reducing our energy consumption. As well as supporting our aim of being net carbon zero by 2050, the reduced costs also benefit the taxpayer.

“The lights will be a warm white colour, so residents shouldn’t notice a difference with the old bulbs, and are designed to direct the light more onto the highway so will be less intrusive into people’s homes and gardens.”

As well as making longer-term savings from converting to LEDs, on Tuesday 27 October the council’s cabinet will discuss a refinancing of the wider streetlighting PFI contract to reduce costs. The savings will be used to support council services.

The council’s streetlight contractor Skanska is managing the conversion to LEDs. The light changes will be combined with other maintenance (such as electrical tests) to save time and money.

Skanska’s Operations Director Matthew Riches said: “Working with Surrey County Council to upgrade its street lighting infrastructure with energy-saving LED lights will help achieve significant savings in carbon emissions and energy, as well as improve the lighting for local pedestrians and road users.”

To find out more about the streetlight conversion, visit surreycc.gov.uk/streetlights

Cllr Matt Furniss and Skanska’s Simon Woodford, pictured before social distancing measures were in place

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