Market Drayton 'ahead of the pack' in street light upgrade scheme
More than a thousand more of Market Drayton's street lights will be upgraded to LEDs that will shine brighter and save hundreds of thousands of pounds after the county council agreed to follow the town council's example.
Shropshire Council's cabinet voted to invest almost £7m into upgrading 16,253 street lights across the county over the next three years, including in Market Drayton.
Market Drayton Town Council's own stock of street lights, numbering 260 in the town's residential areas, were all switched to LEDs this year and since August it has saved them about £6,000 in consumption and maintenance.
Town councillors are keen to see the county council make similar savings and use the money to make investments in the town's infrastructure.
More than 3,000 lights in the county which are the responsibility of the unitary authority have already been switched, though there are still 1,027 left to convert in Market Drayton.
Jason Hughes, Shropshire Council’s streetlighting and traffic signals commissioner, said: “Shropshire Council owns and maintains 1,223 street lights in Market Drayton.
“98 (nine per cent) of lanterns have already been converted to LED lantern technology."
The county council's street lights cover the main highways in Market Drayton and the remainder will be upgraded over the next three years.
"A total of £6.83m has been committed across the county and it will save the authority £506,533.
Town councillors have welcomed the county council following in their footsteps and said it would make residents safer.
'Ahead of the pack'
Councillor Roy Whittle, who also sits on Shropshire Council, said: "We will be investing a heck of a lot of money in LED in the hopes of saving something in the region of half a million pounds.
"There are quite a few in the county, lots that have not been changed in Drayton, so we have got a mix in the town.
"We are pulling together, county and town, and the county has made quite a commitment financially to get the savings as well as reducing the carbon footprint.
"What we want to see now is more solar panels – particularly on new buildings – and insulation in shops and offices and factories."
Market Drayton Town Council's Mark Whittle said: "When we first brought the idea to put them in we knew it was a massive money-saving aspect.
"It's going to save us £16,000 every year and a quarter.
"The lights are more direct, they are safer.
"We can have the lights on longer too, they will stay on until 11pm. That will help people who work late shifts.
"Money that's not spent on lighting can be spent on infrastructure.
"I applaud them for making that decision. We're changing Shropshire for the good.
"I think this [town] council is pulling ahead of the pack in modernisation."