The iconic Blackpool Illuminations have officially commenced and will dazzle visitors until January 2023 – despite the current energy crisis.

Blackpool Council has said “forward thinking” and use of LED lighting has allowed the Illuminations to go ahead despite concerns over soaring energy bills and the price of lighting up the seaside town throughout the autumn and winter.

The Lancashire Telegraph asked Blackpool Council how much it expected the Blackpool Illuminations to cost this year, given the soaring costs of energy, and if it was planning to make any changes to the programme to save money.

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen turned the lights on in the town at the weekend, stepping in for Johnny Vegas at short notice.

Lancashire Telegraph: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen switched on the 2022 Blackpool Illuminations (Photo: VisitBlackpool)Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen switched on the 2022 Blackpool Illuminations (Photo: VisitBlackpool)

A Blackpool Council spokesperson said: “The budgeted cost of the Illuminations 22/23 is £1.758 million (total costs, not just energy).

“Any increased energy costs will be contained within the existing Illuminations budget with spending on materials being reduced.

“The Illuminations receives various income contributions, including sponsorship and investment through Town Deal funding.

“Visitor insight data for 2021 shows the extended Illuminations season attracted around 10 million visitors on to the promenade between September and the end of December, generating more than £300m of spend and providing a huge boost to the local economy.

“The Illuminations team has been forward thinking and as a result, over the last number of years has already reduced the energy consumption by 75 per cent since 1999 levels with the change to LED displays and use of 100 per cent renewable energy.

“The work that has been undertaken over a number of years has meant that we are in the strongest position possible but we can’t beat the market and are predicting our cost will go up over the next year.”

TV celebrity and designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen switched on the Illuminations last Friday (September 2).

Lancashire Telegraph: Crowds gathered at the Blackpool Illumination switch-on 2022Crowds gathered at the Blackpool Illumination switch-on 2022

The star of Channel 4’s Changing Rooms pulled the switch at the end of a 90-minute live concert in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom produced in association with MTV and featuring Blue, Tom Grennan, Nina Nesbitt, Fuse ODG and Mae Muller.

Crowds who had gathered on the Promenade to watch the show on a giant screen were treated to a burst of fireworks and a spectacular light show on The Blackpool Tower to mark the start of four months of Illuminations.

Laurence had earlier told the show’s host Becca Dudley of his love and affection for the Illuminations and his pride at being invited to perform the Switch-On ceremony.

Over the past few years, Laurence has collaborated with the Illuminations production team, designing a number of spectacular features and installations.

His appearance as Switch-On star this year coincides with the unveiling of a dazzling makeover for the Golden Mile in which Laurence has created a stretch of Art Deco-style features that will celebrate a golden age of 1930s glamour.

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We are delighted to add Laurence’s name to the list of celebrities who have turned on the Illuminations down the years. He is one of our greatest ambassadors.

READ MORE: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen to switch on Blackpool Illuminations

“It was also great to be able to share the concert and Switch-On moment with residents and visitors who gathered on the Promenade and with a worldwide audience via the live stream. Nights like Switch-On are what make Blackpool such a special place.”

The concert and Switch-On moment were streamed to a global audience via VisitBlackpool and MTV channels.

Last year, that attracted viewers from as far afield as Australia, Canada and the United States. It was also live-streamed on a specially-erected screen on the nearby Tower Festival Headland.