THE cost of providing street lighting in Cambridgeshire has doubled. Councils often complain that their costs rise much faster than those in the general economy and their taxpayers homes. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in Cambridgeshire County C

THE cost of providing street lighting in Cambridgeshire has doubled.

Councils often complain that their costs rise much faster than those in the general economy and their taxpayers' homes.

Nowhere is this better illustrated than in Cambridgeshire County Council's street-lighting bills, which have almost doubled in the last year.

Mark Kemp, the council's director of highways and access, told The Hunts Post yesterday (Tuesday): "Because of the increase in energy prices last year, the price the county council is paying for electricity has almost doubled. The county council used the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO), which negotiates contracts for authorities across the eastern region. This price was a reduced rate due to changes made in how the contract works to get better value.

"With some 55,000 street lamps across Cambridgeshire, it is an indication of the hidden extra costs faced by councils that have risen far beyond inflation. Parish councils are being charged a lower rate than what the county pays for their street lights.

"The county council will continue to look at new ways to use technology to make lights more efficient and environmentally friendly. Currently the electricity used to power the county's street lights comes from green sources," he added.

CCC last year spent £1.14million on lighting the county's streets.

Household inflation, as measured by the consumer prices index, was 4.1 per cent in November, the most recent figure. The retail prices index, which until the late summer had been showing an annual inflation rate ahead of the CPI, stood at three per cent in November.