Solar-powered streetlights to be trialed as council contemplates alternative fuels

Wednesday, 19 May, 2021

A trial of solar-powered streetlights is to go ahead in Jaywick Sands as part of the council’s Climate Action Plan.

Tendring District Council (TDC) declared a climate emergency in August 2019 and set itself a target of being net zero carbon by 2030. Since then work has been undertaken to draw up an action plan to meet that target.

Now the authority is to pilot using LED streetlights which are completely powered by renewable energy – meaning they have zero emissions, and are also cheaper to install and maintain.

Michael Talbot, TDC Cabinet Member for Environment, announced the move at tonight’s full council meeting (Tuesday, 18 May).

“Although Essex County Council is responsible for the vast majority of streetlights in our district, we operate 191,” Councillor Talbot said.

“It is important we not only look after this ageing infrastructure, but when we look to replace do so in a way which is environmentally sustainable. Not only that, but our climate change objective in the longer term will not only reduce emissions but will save us money.”

The 23 lights will be installed in seven roads by the end of 2021, and reviewed after a year with feedback welcomed from the local community. If successful, TDC will look to replace its remaining 168 streetlights with the new technology.

During his update on climate change work, Councillor Talbot also revealed the council was looking at alternative fuel technology for its fleet of vehicles.

While electric vehicles are being considered, other environmentally-friendly fuels using either waste vegetable oil or GTL fuel – which is a cleaner alternative to diesel derived from natural gas.

Work is ongoing to evaluate the best option, but it could be that TDC uses the alternative fuels to begin with while electric vehicle technology continues to rapidly evolve. Different technologies could be implemented as part of the fleet’s rolling renewal programme.

TDC is also looking at installing more charging points in its car parks to support residents who make the switch to electric vehicles.

Councillor Talbot added: “I am pleased with the progress we are making in these early steps to ensure we hit our climate change target, and look forward to seeing how these develop over time.

“While I must emphasise a note of caution as all of this needs to be balanced against new and improving technology – and so we must not over-commit too early – I am excited by the possibilities before us and am confident that by positioning ourselves now we can quickly adopt the right solution for the environment and TDC.”

Last updated on: 19/05/2021 - 09:01