Tamworth Regional Council backs calls for NSW government to fund LED changeover

SPOTLIGHT: Council backs call for incentive to change to LED lighting. Photo: Geoff O'Neill

SPOTLIGHT: Council backs call for incentive to change to LED lighting. Photo: Geoff O'Neill

TAMWORTH may be a leading light when to comes to sustainability projects, but now sights have shifted toward the state government.

The state’s peak local government body has called on the NSW government to start-up a $50 million kitty, funded from profits from the poles and wires sale, to help local councils transition to LED street lighting.

Earlier this year, Tamworth Regional Council endorsed a $1.4 million initiative to changeover about 5000 minor street lights to LED technology.

A number of Tamworth councillors have backed Local Government NSW’s (LGNSW) call for state government incentives on energy efficient lighting.

“Absolutely, it’s such a no-brainer,” mayor Col Murray said.

“It would be good for the state.

Absolutely, it’s such a no-brainer. - Mayor Col Murray

“There’s a lot more we could do, particularly in the outlying areas.”

Council estimated the local street lamp replacement could result in over $1.7 million in savings over the next 12 years.

The reduction in energy consumed by switching to LED lighting was approximated to be equivalent to the power used in 100 homes.

Fellow councillor Mark Rodda also backed the idea after council has already put up a significant money to get started on more energy-efficient lighting.

“We’ve put more than $1 million towards changing over 4000 to 5000 minor street lights,” he said.

“We are ahead of the curve, the initial outlay was a significant cost, but it will be quite beneficial in the long-run.”

Cr Rodda agreed with LGNSW’s suggestion the proposed  streetlight transition fund should be funded by the government’s poles and wires sales.

According to LGNSW, councils currently have to cover the full cost of street lighting upgrades, under the current regulations.

Councillor Mark Rodda

Councillor Mark Rodda

“It’s a fundamental misalignment of interests which is well within the state government’s power to resolve,” LNSW president Keith Rhoades said.

“Councils want to minimise costs to the community while also improving lighting quality, in the interests of public safety and amenity.”

Cr Rhoades said the switch to LED street lighting technology could deliver energy savings of up to 70 per cent on current road lighting, with much lower failure rates and at a lower overall cost.

The call comes ahead of the 2017-18 State Budget due to be handed down by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet on Tuesday, June 20.

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