Millions of pounds will be spent over the next two years replacing every street lamp in Swindon.

The borough council is embarking on a £9.7m project to replace the current lights, which burn sodium, with light-emitting diodes.

The authority says it will mean a big saving in electricity – saving the council and taxpayers money – and cut carbon emissions.

And it significantly reduces the orange light pollution produced by the existing lights.

The council is looking at how it can increase the number of electric vehicle charging points, with members asking officers to see whether the two measures can be combined.

Officer Tim Price told members of the authority’s communities and place overview and scrutiny committee: “It will cost £7.2m to replace all the lanterns across the borough and we’ve allocated £2.5m to replace about 10 per cent of the posts holding them up.”

Mr Price said the council spends £1.3m a year on electricity, with street lighting the highest single component in that cost.

Replacing the lamps with LED lights will cut that by 60 per cent. It will cost £1,000 to replace each column.

He added: “In 2018-19, street lighting accounted for 3,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, which is more than half of the council’s electricity-related emissions. Changing the lights will make a significant saving to those emissions.”

Asked about the difference in the lifespan of the bulbs, Mr Price added: “Older sodium lanterns last about four years.

“LEDs should last more than 10 years.

“There is a separate programme to look at replacing all the lamps in car parks with LEDs as well.”

He said the new lamps come with a better control management system, allowing them to be controlled from a central point.

“We have selected lights with a warmer glow, and we’ve deliberately avoided the harsher white/blue light, and go for a softer glow,” said Mr Price.

“There should be less light ‘spillage’ as well because the new lanterns have a more focussed light, so there should be fewer problems for people having light disturbance in their bedrooms.”

Another officer, Ian James, told the committee there was a feasibility study about how the council could increase the number of electric car charging points.

He said: “We will be looking not only at the highways and other land that we own and are responsible for but private land where we can agree with the owners.”

Committee member John Ballman said: “If you’re looking to be able to install more charging points, and we’ve just heard about replacing hundreds of lampposts, could you look at having two charging points in the new posts, perhaps facing each way, so people can charge when they park by the side of the road.”

Officers said they would look into the possibility.

Committee chairman Matthew Courtliff said: “We need to make sure that we get the right technology in for charging points. Is that an issue?

“We don’t want to be installing the equivalent of Betamax chargers all around Swindon.”

Amanda Shott who lives in Eldene said: “It sounds like a good idea to switch to cheaper lights if it’s going to save money.

“I’m a bit surprised they haven’t done it before because LEDs have been around for a long time now.

“The important thing is to make sure the streets are well-lit. That matters more than the cost. But if it’s just as good but saves money, that’s good.”

Work is expected to start in March and will take 18 months to complete.