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We do not collect this information centrally. However, we know that two-thirds of councils have already switched to low-energy street lighting. That will save council tax payers’ money and have the double benefit of reducing carbon emissions.
I thank the Minister for that very thoughtful reply, which I am sure will be listened to with great interest at County Hall in Chelmsford, where the county council has had a blackout policy from midnight. Will the Minister agree to meet me and a company near Colchester that is in the market of producing LED lights that would be of financial benefit to the taxpayer?
I am always delighted to meet my hon. Friend. If he wants to bring someone along to meet me I would be happy to accommodate him. However, I am advised that Essex county council is about to embark on a £1 million pilot scheme to introduce energy-saving LED streetlights in six areas of the council. I am sure my hon. Friend will be pleased to hear that, as a result, I am sure, of his campaigning, that includes Colchester.
The point about LED lights is that not only do they use a very small amount of electricity while generating a lot of light, they last so long and require little maintenance so that they require very few people to tend to them during the life of the light bulb. Has the Minister factored those cost-savings into his calculations?
The hon. Gentleman makes a very good point. In April, the Campaign to Protect Rural England estimated that councils spend more than
£600 million on street lighting, accounting for 30% of their carbon emissions. Tackling the remaining street lights not using LED will reduce carbon emissions and cut the maintenance costs he mentions.