The technique, which has been effectively used elsewhere but has often proved highly controversial with safety campaigners.

Westminster City Council believes they can save themselves £8.4 million over the 20 year life span of a street light.

The new system, which follows a pilot scheme of 2,000 lights, is set to be controlled by computer which means staff can instantly see the status and power usage of any of the ‘Smart Lights’ and remotely control how brightly they shine.

Under the plans more than 14,000 lights could be converted to include the technology, which is planned to be introduced over the next four years

Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for city management, Ed Argar, said: “It makes no sense to be wasting money and energy with lights burning brightly at all hours, which is why, at a time when other councils are turning lights off, we are investing in keeping them on – but at an appropriate level.

“This is one of many ways Westminster is looking to save money by innovative schemes that benefit everybody. It keeps the lights on, it saves money for the taxpayer and it builds a greener city.”

The council hopes to allay fears about the scheme by improving it in the future to work via text message.

Lights could be controlled from the ground through the use of texts, so police or one of Westminster’s street team could ask for lights to be made brighter if more people are using the area.

Luke Walsh

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