EIGHT THOUSAND light bulbs in Bolton’s street lamps are being replaced with more energy-efficient lights in a move to slash the borough’s huge electricity bills.

Bolton Council is to spend £150,000 moving to greener street lighting in a bid to slash its costs.

As well as changing 8,000 of the borough’s 36,000 bulbs, the council will also test computer software that acts as a dimmer switch for street lights.

And the local authority will be shortening the amount of time lights stay on to further trim its costs.

Lights will come on four minutes later than usual in the evening and go off four minutes earlier in the morning, which will save 50 hours of energy a year — worth about £60,000.

In the past two years, the council’s bill has risen from £870,000 in 2007 to more than £1.5 million last year.

Now senior officers are introducing a range of measures to bring that figure down — with street lighting the first area to be targeted.

By changing from using old-fashioned 45 watt bulbs to more energy efficient 18 watt LED bulbs on the 8,000 lights on residential roads, the council estimates it can save £88,000 each year.

It is also hoping that shortening the time that the street lights remain switched on will save a further £60,000 over 10 years. Part of the £150,000 will be spent on a new computer system that can dim lights.

An early test will involve dimming the lights in Victoria Square before the scheme is rolled out across the borough year by year.

Cllr Ismail Ibrahim, Bolton Council’s executive member for environmental services, said: “The saving we will be making will be very welcome but it is also about helping the environment.

“I’ve seen the new technology at work and it is very impressive. “The light produced by these new LEDs is much better than the yellow blobs from the old lamps.”

As part of the council’s Carbon Management Plan, it wants to cut carbon emissions by a third by December, 2013. Other measures already in place to help the authority achieve that target include a switch from bottled water to machines, which purify and chill mains water, and the use of a more energy-efficient electricity system at all the borough’s civic buildings.

andrew.greaves@ theboltonnews.co.uk