Leicestershire County Council plans £25m LED street light spend

Image caption More than 18,000 sodium bulbs street lights have already been replaced with LED bulbs in Leicester city

More than £25m could be spent on changing a county's street lights to LEDs in a bid to cut electricity bills.

Leicestershire County Council is proposing to change 67,000 bulbs, which it says will save £2m a year and reduce energy use by 60%.

The Conservative-led council said if the project was approved, it could take three years to roll out.

The Liberal Democrats have supported the plan and said it would be a "big investment for future generations".

Cabinet member for highways and transport at the council, Peter Osbourne, said the amount the council was spending on lighting the streets had doubled in 10 years because of rising energy costs.

He said: "This is a pragmatic idea which would save money by reducing energy bills, maintenance costs and carbon taxes, and also reflects residents' views."

Tim Parker, political reporter, BBC Leicester

You've got to wonder how long any new spending can last at County Hall. With £120m still to cut from the budget, even the "spend to save" ideas like the LED lighting scheme could soon be beyond the council's means.

So this latest cabinet meeting could be one of the last times we'll hear of road schemes like the Leicester Northwest Major Transport Project or the Hinckley Area Project Zone 2 proposals - not exactly sexy sounding, but important and beneficial. And we'll miss them when they're gone.

Image caption The LED street lights are expected to save the county council £2m a year in electricity bills

Last year the county council began turning off 35,000 street lights overnight and dimming 1,000 to help save £800,000 a year.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, Simon Galton, said: "This is good news for the council because it makes substantial savings and good news for the residents and campaigners because we are keeping the lights on.

"This is a big investment but this is what the council needs to be doing for future generations."

Leicester City Council has already replaced more than 18,000 sodium lights with LEDs as part of a £13m scheme to replace 33,000 street lights in the city by the end of 2015.

A final decision on the lighting report will be made by the council's cabinet early next year.

If the project is rolled out, the LEDs would be installed over three years starting in Loughborough next summer.

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