Essex County Council is embarking on an ambitious project to replace 82,000 residential streetlights with longer lasting LED lights.

The council says the move will lead to long term savings on maintenance equaling almost £40 million in 25 years.

Last year council repair crews attended nearly 38,000 streetlights to fix them, but councillor Lee Scott says his teams “are still struggling to keep up”.

The cabinet member for highways maintenance and sustainable transport said: “LED streetlights last longer, use less electricity and so provide a better service to us all while saving taxpayers' money.

“We have already installed around 45,000 LED streetlights on main roads and now I’m delighted to announce we are investing to replace the remaining 82,000 lights on residential streets.”

LED stands for light emitting diode; LED lights save on average around 60 per cent energy usage, so reducing costs and saving thousands of tons of carbon emissions involved in generating electricity

Cllr Scott added: “We are making a total investment of £26.8 million (£10.3M of that is an interest-free Government loan) in the project to make savings above the cost of loan repayments from year 1. After 25 years we estimate the net savings to the council will be around £39 million. We may not be able to fix every old sodium type single light that fails immediately, but now there is light at the end of the lamp post.”

Installation of the remaining 82,000 LED lights started last month and will be installed area by area until completion in 2024.

LED lights contain negligible toxic materials and are expected to last 20 years, whereas half of sodium lamps fail after 5 years and have to be replaced.

LED lights can be dimmed and will be controlled and monitored by the central management system, via improved, longer-lasting “Telecell” radio units.