A streetlight named efficiency: new loans for local authorities

Local authorities can now get a cheap loan to switch old streetlamps for more efficient ones under new plans announced by the Green Investment Bank today. Glasgow City Council is […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Local authorities can now get a cheap loan to switch old streetlamps for more efficient ones under new plans announced by the Green Investment Bank today.

Glasgow City Council is the first to take up the loan to convert its 70,000 streetlights to low energy LED lamps.

There are seven million streetlights around the UK which clock up an electricity bill of more than £300 million each year. Despite this fewer than one million lamps are low energy.

The Government-funded bank hopes many will follow Glasgow’s lead and snap up a slice of its £3.8 billion funding pot to revamp lights.

Shaun Kingsbury, GIB Chief Executive said: “Bad lighting does not come cheap, it carries an electricity bill which can be cut by up to 80% with a move to low energy, LED lighting.

“Making the switch saves councils money, increases community safety and dramatically reduces the UK’s carbon footprint.”

River Clyde, Glasgow. Copyright: Thinkstock

He added: “Put more simply, local authorities borrow money from the Green Investment Bank, but repay the loan entirely through the money they save by changing their lighting.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable claimed the LED technology could make “big strides” in saving money for local councils.

He said: “I urge councils across the country to follow Glasgow City Council’s lead and GIB’s new Green Loan can help speed up the take up of this streetlighting.”