€140m programme to replace inefficient street lights to get underway by end of the year

€140m programme to replace inefficient street lights to get underway by end of the year

A €140m programme to replace 326,000 inefficient public lights will get underway in December, resulting in a major saving on energy bills for local authorities.

Cork County Council has been appointed the lead local authority for the country to implement the ambitious replacement programme and is also helping with a project to reduce plastic waste in its own county.

Details of the roll-out of replacement LED lights were provided to members of Cork County Council at a meeting in Mallow by Padraig Barrett, head of the council's roads and transportation directorate.

He said that 50% of the total energy use by all local authorities in the country is expended on public lighting.

It's anticipated that without this project the majority of local authorities will not reach their statutory energy efficiency targets for 2020. Once fully retrofitted it is estimated that this project will achieve huge savings and result in an equivalent carbon dioxide reduction of 44,268 tonnes per annum.

Mr Barrett said that 30,000 lights will be replaced in County Cork and work on doing that will commence in early 2020.

He said that 24 local authorities have signed up for the light replacement programme.

The new energy-saving lights will be installed only on existing poles as this does not require planning permission.

Meanwhile, Cork County Council is also carry out work to try to reduce the use of plastics.

Louis Duffy, head of the Council's environment directorate, said the local authority is also aiding with a project to reduce the use of plastic bottles.

The Council has been encouraging businesses to sign up to the Tap Map, where businesses provide free water fill-up to people in the hope they might buy something in return in their outlets.

Mr Duffy said that there are currently 75 locations in County Cork where this is being done.

In addition, the Council has partnered with Refill Ireland to pilot a project in Cobh which has resulted in 23 businesses to date signing up on the Tap Map.

"We hope to replicate this project in all major towns and tourism destinations in the county during the remainder of 2019," Mr Duffy said.

He added that the Council is currently planning to pilot the installation of drinking water fountains in a secondary school in the county, although he didn't identify the particular school.

"The aim of this project is to obviously reduce or hopefully eliminate the huge number of plastic bottles being thrown away. depending on the outcome of this pilot project we may look to expand this initiative to other schools in the county," Mr Duffy noted.

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