The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) has picked up an environmental award for its roll out of LED panel lights in replacement of old-fashioned street lamps.

SFT was honoured with the Sustainability Award at the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation awards ceremony for its Scotland Street Lighting Energy Efficiency Programme.

The project, which is expected to save 2.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and £1.2 billion over the next two decades, was introduced to reduce energy emissions and cut electricity costs.

Lindsay McGregor, associate director at SFT, said: “We have demonstrated to councils how short the payback period can be when they make an investment in new LEDs – in may cases, it can be just a few years.”

She added that £82 million has been invested in the project over the last three years, with help from the Scottish government and Zero Waste Scotland, but they will “reap the financial and environmental rewards” after the lights have been installed.

Gordon Mackay, head of roads and transportation services at South Lanarkshire Council, noted that LED lamps can reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent.

As street lighting equates to a quarter of councils’ electricity bills, making cuts to energy output would have a great financial impact for local authorities.

Indeed, Scotland’s street lamps, of which there are 900,000, cost £41 million a year to run, and release 205,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air.

Scotland is not the only place that hopes to switch all its street lamps to LED lights, as Cardiff council has announced it will invest £4.4 million to install 13,608 LED bulbs on its main bus routes and highways.