Wakefield Council aiming to save £1.4million more from energy efficiency measures

Monday, February 19, 2024

Wakefield Council is expected to save £1.4million from being more energy efficient as part of budget proposals for 2024-25.

Investment in energy efficient street lighting is a key driver in these savings. The Council recently completed a three-year project to switch more than 44,000 streetlights to energy-saving LEDs.

In 2023-24 the lights helped reduce the Council’s energy bill by around £7 million. The cost of powering the Wakefield district’s streetlights is around £205,000 a month on average. Without LEDs the cost would be nearer £780,000 a month.

Cllr Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways, said: “The LED street lighting programme is a great example of how the Council is continually changing and looking for new ways of working to be more efficient.

“This planning ahead is all about saving us money. Developing our infrastructure so that it’s fit for the future. And freeing up resources so we can protect frontline services against Government cuts.

“It’s very welcome news that our programme is going to save us even more money and energy than expected.”

Cllr Matthew Morley

Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways

Cllr Matthew Morley

Cllr Les Shaw, Cabinet Member for Resources and Property, said: “We’re always looking for ways to be more efficient and provide the best possible value for local taxpayers. That’s a key part of running a responsible and sustainable Council for everyone in the district.

“These new energy efficient streetlights are a great investment for the future as they will save us money every year. This is just one example of how we’re constantly working to make sure the budgets we have gone as far as they possibly can.”

Cllr Les Shaw

Cabinet Member for Resources and Property

Cllr Les Shaw

The new street lights have reduced energy use by almost 80% – higher than the expected reduction of 65% at the start of the programme. Carbon emissions are down to less than a quarter of what they were three years ago. Saving more than 6,000 tonnes of carbon a year, which is nearly 17% of the Council’s baseline emissions and a big step towards the Council being net zero by 2030.

The project, a partnership between Wakefield Council and Amey, has cost £19.2m, which is currently under the original £21m budget estimate. The energy savings and the current high cost of electricity will mean the cost of this investment will be recouped more quickly than originally planned and demonstrates the value of energy efficiency measures which reduce both the cost of bills and the Council’s carbon footprint.

New LED lanterns have been fitted onto existing street lighting columns. Historic-style lanterns have been replaced with LED versions that look as much like the original as possible.

The project has brought in a new system that can control the network centrally. It provides real-time information so that faults can be identified quickly and repaired. Less maintenance is needed because the LED lanterns do not need bulbs changing. The neutral, white light from LEDs means that road markings and signs can be seen more easily, and CCTV footage is clearer.

In the Council’s recent budget consultation, which closed on 28 January, this proposal was one of the most popular. 76% of residents who responded supported the idea of saving £1.4 million from further energy efficiency measures.

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