Town showing the way with new lights system

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COUNCILLORS have given the go-ahead for a new ‘intelligent’ street lighting system in Needham Market – making it the first town in Suffolk to install it.

Needham Market town councillors agreed to the proposals to install the new system at a meeting in the town on Wednesday.

The system will cut the town’s lighting costs in half, bringing the annual bill down from £5,132 to £2,586.

Suffolk County Council is pushing ahead with the scheme quickly because it has attracted the interest of BBC’s One Show, which is looking to film a programme about the new lighting system in the town.

Now the town council has agreed to foot the £9,000 bill – which will be recouped in savings over three and a half years – the new lighting will be installed over the next two weeks and will be tested throughout the beginning of March. BBC crews will be filming in the town next month to document the impact of the street lighting system.

Kevin Hunter, Needham Market Town Council clerk, said: “In terms of benefits there is a benefit to the environment, there is a CO2 reduction.

“The town council is concerned about the future in terms of environmental issues and this is a contribution to try to combat that.”

The new flexible lighting enables lights to be operated and controlled individually, meaning specific lights can be dimmed or switched off at certain times in the day and others can be left on.

Mr Hunter said: “It’s important that the areas that need lighting continue to be lit through the night.”

The lighting system will be returned to its current lighting pattern following the BBC filming and the town council will undertake public consultation and customise the lighting system for the town requirements.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “The system is an ‘invest to save’ project, saving taxpayers money in the reduction of energy bills that the council has to pay.

“By investing in the new system, the council would make annual energy savings of £550,000 per year.”