Cambridgeshire Lib Dems have challenged the County Council’s Conservative Adminstration to live up to its promise to promote new technologies to save money and reduce carbon emissions. Last year Lib Dem Spoke Nichola Harrison approached Cambridge University Professor Colin Humphreys, a world expert on LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology, to ask for advice on the possible use of LEDs for street lighting. Prof Humphreys agreed to help the County Council set up a pilot project in Cambridgeshire, but the offer was rejected by senior cabinet members on the grounds that LED street lighting was not a viable technology. However …
Cambridgeshire County Council has been beaten in the energy efficiency stakes by a village in Italy and the USA’s icy northern outpost: Anchorage, Alaska.
Torraca and Anchorage are the latest entrants in the race to establish LED technology as the norm for street lighting across the world. Joining others such as Toronto, Canada and Ann Arbor, USA they are now members of the LEDCity initiative (www.ledcity.org) aimed at innovation using LED technology to deliver savings of up to 75% in energy and maintenance costs and carbon dioxide emissions.
Two of the County Council’s senior Conservative politicians, Mac McGuire and Roy Pegram, last year roundly rejected overtures from Cambridge’s world LED expert, Professor Colin Humphreys, who offered to collaborate with the County Council to be the UK pioneer by undertaking a pilot scheme in Cambridgeshire. Prof Humphreys’s offer was presented to the Council by Liberal Democrat councillor Nichola Harrison.
Now Cllr Harrison is calling for the Conservatives who run the Council to fulfil their recent promise to ‘promote the development of low carbon technologies’. “Last year, Cabinet members rejected the opportunity to work with leading academic and industry experts on a trial project, saying that LED technology was not viable for street lighting”, says Cllr Harrison. “I found that response surprising and depressing, especially as the Council is planning to replace the majority of the county’s street lights in an expensive PFI scheme. If they had taken up Prof Humphreys’s offer for a trial project, they might now be in a position to decide whether to follow the likes of Anchorage and go for LEDs on the grand scale, funded by the PFI scheme.
“Cambridgeshire has been put to shame by a small village in Italy. My challenge now is: you made a promise to innovate – let’s see your fine words put into action. Millions of pounds in energy costs, and thousand of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions are at stake.”