A MID Devon businessman has been asked to help develop the next generation of street signs which could save taxpayers thousands of pounds.

Nick Bartlett, of South West Solar & Renewable Systems in Uffculme, is heading off to Belgium to work with a new technology company, using his expertise in the field of renewable energy installations to test their latest equipment.

The firm make cutting-edge solar-powered street furniture such as lampposts which only turn on when they detect a passing pedestrian or cyclist.

The company’s products also include LED-illuminated information boards which also only light up when someone approaches, and solar-powered zebra crossings where the white stripes are made up of LED lights.

Nick said: “I came across the managing director of this company through a mutual acquaintance in Belgium and was subsequently asked to use my knowledge built up through South West Solar & Renewable Systems to see how their products work from an installer’s point of view.

“In my opinion, local authorities in the UK could save the council taxpayer thousands of pounds a year if they started using such equipment. I was recently at the Federation of Small Businesses annual conference in the Midlands and met the elected mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby.

“I told him about my forthcoming trip to Belgium and what they were making there and he was very interested, and I’ll be keeping in touch with him over how it develops.

“Across the UK councils spend millions of pounds a year on electricity, and if these low-energy, solar-powered devices were installed here, really big savings could be made.”