HUNDREDS of Colchester’s streetlights have been switched to low-energy LEDs.

Essex County Council has upgraded 920 of the town’s lights as part of a £1million trial.

The new lights are more energy-efficient, have lower maintenance costs and are expected to last a lot longer.

Tim Young, Colchester councillor responsible for community safety, said: “I think it’s really good news the trial has started.

“LED is the future, as far as I’m concerned, for street lighting.

“It saves money, is environmentallyfriendly and means we could have the lights on all night.

“I just wish the county council had gone down the LED route many years ago and then we wouldn’t be having this argument about whether streetlights should be on overnight. I think it’s about ten years too late.”

In November 2013, 70 per cent of the town’s street lights were switched off from midnight until 5am to save County Hall £130,000 in Colchester.

Now the borough is one of six areas in the county included in the trial.

The county council will compare the savings against conventional street lighting.

Mr Young believes the county council should begin rolling out the lights to the whole of Essex straight away, adding: “I don’t even know why they are doing a trial. It’s proved to work in other parts of the country.”

In total, 114 Colchester roads have the new lights. These include Osborne Street, North Hill, Mersea Road, Head Street, Magdalen Street, North Station Road and St Andrew’s Avenue.

Some have just one LED light, while others have had all their lights switched over. Southway Eastbound has the highest number, with 41, followed by Hawthorn Avenue with 33.

The new lights give off a white light, and many residents are already noticing the difference from the older traditional yellow street lighting.

After reading the Gazette’s story about the trial in December, David Eade took photos of the old lights.

Last week he returned to the same spot and got photos of the new lights, to highlight the difference.

He said: “The LED lighting will certainly benefit those who rely on the town centre’s CCTV network for fighting crime, as the CCTV images captured under white light will be a lot clearer than when the town centre’s streets were lit with yellow light.”