STREETLAMPS across Thurrock are to be replaced by LED lights over the next two years.

Thurrock Council's cabinet is expected to agree the move when it meets on Wednesday, August 13 with a potential saving of over half a million pound annually.

It will borrow £6million to switch the borough's 17,000 stree lights with "light emitting diode" lamps, which are brighter and use less electricity.

The council's portfolio holder for transportation, Cllr Andy Smith, says: "Unlike our friends in Essex we have never seriously considered shutting off street lights at night.

"Instead we've looked at ways we can keep the streets safe by keeping the lights on and save money and this is it.

"We're planning to borrow £6 million to convert each of the 17,000 and more streetlamps. The saving in electricity bills and future maintenance exceeds the cost repayments - a great example of investing to save."

He added: "As well as the savings advantages, these lights are also a brighter white in comparison to the traditional orange lights and they also reduce light pollution - although our proximity to London and the night workings at the ports means there are still light pollutions issues here.

"We will keep the streets well lit and safe for pedestrians and drivers, reducing the chance of accidents and crime."

Cllr Smith said: "People may have noticed that over the past year or so we have been carrying out a small scale programme converting some things like Belisha beacons at zebra crossings and other street furniture, as well as replacing broken or damaged street lamps with LED lights.

"This is another example of the innovative way Thurrock works to make savings. Instead of slashing services people rely on we work carefully to find ways to provide services in new and different way, saving money at the same time.

"It's not always possible and as the funding reductions bite deeper it's going to be even more difficult, but at Thurrock we are determined to do our best to keep the impact of cuts on local people to the least we can."