County Hall is spending £7.5m to replace almost 17,000 street lights across Norfolk with more energy efficient LED bulbs.
A total of 16,800 lights will be changed during the next two years – which is the final stage of Norfolk County Council’s initiative to switch 53,000 traditional street lighting with LED lanterns.
The Conservative-controlled county council says changing the bulbs will cut the authority’s CO2 emissions by more than 200 tonnes each year.
But opposition councillors hit out at the council for acting too slowly in making the changes.
Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said “The move to LED lighting shows how technology can help us reduce our carbon emissions while maintaining services and public amenities.
“With the entirety of our streetlighting soon to be using LED lanterns, we’re keeping Norfolk’s streets lit while avoiding hundreds of tonnes of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere each year.
“The new lanterns can be controlled centrally by a central management system that will allow us to adapt streetlighting to changing traffic patterns without needing to send crews out to replace lanterns again, saving us time, money and – yes – the carbon emissions of those teams travelling across the county.”
But Terry Jermy, Labour county councillor for Thetford West, said the work could – and should – have been done more rapidly.
He said: “I am pleased Norfolk County Council has finally got its act together on LED street lights, although it’s disappointing to note that some lights will still not be upgraded for up to two years.
“I first proposed back in early 2021 for them to upgrade these lights but the Conservative administration voted it down.
“If they had acted sooner they would have likely saved more than £1m and in excess of 1,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.
“Their failure to act has cost Norfolk’s residents money and unnecessarily damaged the environment.”