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New streetlighting contract will reduce carbon emissions

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All of Devon County Council’s 79,000 streetlights will be converted to LED lights within the next two years – reducing carbon emissions by 75%.

It comes as SSE Contracting (SSEC) has been awarded the contracts to maintain the streetlights in Devon and Torbay for the next 10 years – with the aim of the contract being carbon neutral by 2030.

The company will be building on the work it has undertaken for the County Council for more than 25 years, which has already seen around 34,000 streetlights converted to low energy LED technology since 2015, as well as the replacement of more than 5,400 streetlighting columns. It will also look to improve the county’s Central Management System to remotely monitor and operate lighting more flexibly and efficiently.

SSEC is the biggest streetlighting contractor in the UK and has become a significant local employer over the past 40 years with depots across Devon. The company has well established supply chains across the region, which will help support economic recovery in the South West.

SSEC’s response to COVID-19 is to look at opportunities across its contracts to re-train and employ local people out of work due to the pandemic. They are keen to support economic recovery through increasing the number of local contractors and suppliers used which will in turn, help local employment and bring benefits to the local area.

Photo of Councillor Stuart Hughes
Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “The streetlighting contract is extremely important as we continue to reduce our carbon emissions, and this new contract will enable us to develop our well-established collaboration with SSEC. Streetlights account for a significant amount of the Council’s emissions, and working with SSEC will help us make further energy and carbon savings. The conversion to LEDs alone will reduce carbon emissions by more than 15,000 tonnes each year, the equivalent of taking 8,000 cars off the road.”

Derek Bell, SSEC Head of Operations Regional Lighting, said: “We’re committed to supporting the local economy in Devon and Torbay, building on our strong relationships with suppliers and contractors in the area. We recognise the added pressure that local authorities are under and we’re keen to support economic recovery wherever possible while also delivering significant energy savings.”

SSE is also committed to all of its vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes being electric by 2030, and for its depots to be carbon zero by 2025. Its regular supply chain partners are also aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.