prison cell

HMP Garth prisoners have become the first to build eco-friendly lights in-house, cutting prisons’ energy use and saving taxpayers’ money. Offenders are assembling LED lights which use 62% less electricity and are expected to save around £2.5m a year once rolled-out across the prison estate.

The project to construct lights which meet vital Prison Service security standards was developed by Garth staff and led to a product that is 36% cheaper than the original design.

The prison has bought components to retrofit 6,700 lights so far and prisoners are producing around 100 a week to install in the prison and elsewhere in the estate. Around 50,000 old fluorescent lights in prisoners’ cells are to be replaced, with 13,000 changed to the energy efficient alternative and already saving £645,000 per year. LED lights are also sent to Garth from other establishments for prisoners to repair and refurbish – further reducing waste and saving money.

Prisons and Probation Minister, Alex Chalk, said:

'This is the latest example of prisons doing their bit to build back greener as we move towards a net-zero future. We know teaching prisoners new skills reduces reoffending, and this is an opportunity to combine learning with tackling climate change.

Work to roll out production lines at further prisons is ongoing, with other sites to be announced in due course. The Prison Service is also aiming to replace tens of thousands of corridor lights as well as those in cells. The new energy efficient lighting follows the announcement that 16,000 solar panels will be installed at 19 prisons across England in the coming months, cutting more than 1,300 tonnes of carbon and providing 20% of each prison’s electricity.'

In May it was announced that the Government’s four new prisons will operate as zero-carbon in the future, with an all-electric design, solar panels, heat pumps and more efficient lighting systems to reduce energy demand significantly. The environmentally friendly drive accompanies wider government action to build back greener with more than £12 billion in green investment to help achieve its net zero commitment.

This will create up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs and spur over £40 billion in investment from the private sector into the UK.