SWITCHING to LED street lights could save Scotland’s councils up to £26.6 million a year, it is claimed.

Only five per cent of the country’s outdoor lighting is powered by LED (light emitting diode) bulbs, with the cost of running a conventional sodium street light running to £47.27 per year, or 13p per night.

The cost could be reduced by 50-70 per cent by switching to the greener bulbs, according to figures from the Scottish Futures Trust.

The independent company was set up by the Scottish Government in 2008 to deliver value for money across public sector infrastructure.

It has already helped East and West Dunbartonshire councils create business cases on adopting the technology, and aims to see every other local authority follow suit.

The research found the switch could be justified on a “spend to save” basis with a payback of eight years without financing costs and 16 years with them.

Street lighting accounts for up to one quarter of a council’s carbon emissions and ditching sodium bulbs would reduce this by an estimated 12.5 per cent.

However, the phased introduction of LED lighting in Edinburgh generated complaints from residents who said the system was not bright enough to ensure public safety.

The council said changes would be made but vowed to stick with LED to ensure a projected saving of millions over the next decade.