Major work to replace 43,000 street lights in Suffolk starts

Suffolk's street lights could be all-LED by 2022 (file photo) Picture: ARCHANT

Work to replace 43,000 street lights has started and will continue into 2022 - Credit: Archant � 2010

Multi-million pound work to replace 43,000 street lights in Suffolk has started - with assurances it will save taxpayers money in the future.

Engelhard Road, in Newmarket, is the first place to get the new LED street lanterns, which are being installed to help save energy and "produce a more natural and focused light".

The work is expected to cost a total of £9.8million - but because they only use 30% to 40% of the power of traditional street lamps, it is believed they will save £1.7m a year in energy costs.

The LED bulbs can also last for up to 25 years, compared to only six years for the traditional lights.

"Carbon emissions are significantly reduced, therefore they are more environmentally friendly and better for the local environment," Suffolk Highways has said.

"They are a different and more efficient way of generating light."

That is not least because the natural white light they produce - as oppose to the yellow glow of the current street lamps - is better for the human eye, as well as flora and fauna.

They also cut down "sky glow" and glare, thereby "reducing light pollution".

The new LEDs are less susceptible to faults and will be brighter than existing street lights, "providing clearer images on CCTV, traffic cameras and dashcam footage for the benefit of public safety", Suffolk Highways says.

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However, they can be dimmed to help save money.

Mildenhall, north-west Bury St Edmunds and areas to the north of Newmarket will be the first to get the new lights, with the roll-out moving to south-west Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill and Sudbury next.

It is hoped most of the street lights will be upgraded by April next year, with a pledge that all will be completed by the end of 2022.

However, not every street light in the county is being upgraded - about 16,000 already have LED lights, while some are the responsibility of town, parish or borough and district councils.