AN ECO-friendly lighting system is being rolled out across large swathes of Bury.

In early 2013, Bury Council announced it would be changing all of the borough’s 11,000 streetlights to make them more environmentally friendly.

They are replacing the traditional type of street lights with LED lights, which are 50 per cent more energy efficient and cost less to power.

Work has already been carried out in many parts of northern Bury and council engineers are now refitting lights on streets in the south, with the aim of replacing the last streetlight in January.

Thousands of leaflets have been handed out in Unsworth and Whitefield in recent weeks.

A Bury Council spokesman said: “Over time, the electricity bill for street lighting has increased dramatically.

“In 2009, the annual bill was £594,000. By 2013, it had risen by nearly £300,000 to £867,000.

“When the LED lighting replacement programme is complete, we estimate that our electricity usage will be reduced and that this will save at least £200,000 over the coming years.

“Savings in carbon emissions will save a further £16,000 on the purchase of carbon allowances.”

A bonus is LED lights last longer than traditional lights, so engineers have to replace them much less often.

The spokesman added: “We are currently working our way around the borough, replacing street lights on around 1,850 side roads.

“The work we carry out in your area will depend on what lighting columns you currently have.

“In most areas, all we will need to do is remove the existing lantern and replace it with a new LED lantern.

“In other areas, we may also need to install extra street lighting columns, raise the height of existing columns, or replace the columns altogether.”

The council argues the new lights are better because they concentrate light on the roads and footpaths, leaving people’s homes and gardens “with less light pollution.”

However, Bury Conservative leader, Cllr Iain Gartside, said: “There is always the possibility that the darkness will provide cover for criminals.”

The council spokesman said that, when the system was trialled “we did receive some complaints.

“However, the majority of residents in these areas are happy with their new lighting.”