Oxfordshire streetlight upgrades to be accelerated with £40m cash boost

Streetlights across Oxfordshire may be upgraded EMN-171128-101222001
Streetlights across Oxfordshire may be upgraded EMN-171128-101222001

A plan to spend £40m on upgrading more than 50,000 streetlights in Oxfordshire to save the council money has been revealed today (Thursday, July 12).

Oxfordshire County Council wants to accelerate its replacement of old streetlighting columns with modern and more energy efficient LED lighting.

Oxfordshire County Council's base at County Hall NNL-160721-122114009

Oxfordshire County Council's base at County Hall NNL-160721-122114009

The £40.8m funding for the work will be borrowed by the council with the cost paid back within nine years from cheaper energy bills and less of a requirement for maintenance, according to the council.

Cabinet member for environment Cllr Yvonne Constance said: “We need to plan for the future of our streetlighting.

“This proposal is a sensible use of borrowing with a clear plan for the money to be paid back as a direct consequence of the investment made.

“Residents would notice higher quality streetlighting that is less likely to fail – which is an excellent thing at any time of year but particularly in the dark winter months.

“Meanwhile the Oxfordshire taxpayer gets value for money from as a result of the council not having to pay so much in energy bills over the next decade and beyond.

“The ever rising cost of energy bills makes this proposal a common sense one to pursue.

“We currently have an annual budget of £3.5m for streetlighting but the annual cost of electricity and maintenance has increased to £4.9m over the last few years.

“Our Oxfordshire residents will know all too well from managing their own household budgets that electricity prices have been on the rise – and that is a trend that shows no sign of abating.

“Now is therefore a good time to be setting out a long term strategy with sensible and proportionate borrowing and a clear plan for that borrowing to be paid back, meaning quality of life for our thriving Oxfordshire communities is enhanced.”

There are almost 60,000 streetlights in Oxfordshire – around 9,000 of these have already been upgraded to modern LED lighting in recent years.

Should cabinet approve the funding on Tuesday (July 17), work on the new streetlighting would take five years to complete, with the bulk of the work taking place from spring 2019 onwards.

This scheme is the second spending announcement from the council this week after it revealed a multi-million pound plan to fix potholes and improve Oxfordshire’s roads on Tuesday.