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Council consults on plan to turn off half of all street lights to save cash
Wiltshire Council is proposing to turn off half of the county’s street lights at night to save money.
The council switched off street lights at night at 10 locations, amounting to more than 1,300 street lights, last year and wants to expand it.
The county has more than 40,000 street lights and is proposing to switch off half of these at night (between midnight and 5.30am) plus dimming lighting at less busy times where appropriate.
In a small number of locations street lights might be turned off altogether.
The council is currently consulting on the proposals which are aimed at saving money and contribute to reducing its carbon footprint.
Peter Binley, head of highways asset management at Wiltshire Council, says in a report on Wiltshire Council’s website that most of the street lights which would be switched off at night would be on minor residential roads, while main road lights could be dimmed for part of the night or turned off where appropriate.
He says: "From the initial investigations converting a majority of the street lights to operate for only part of the night and dimming others at off peak periods would appear to offer the best savings in the longer term, with potentially little adverse impact on the public and communities.
"The proposals include the removal of lights at a number of locations where they would not be provided under current design standards and the introduction of LED and similar units on new lighting schemes.
"The lighting at key locations, such as important junctions and traffic signals, would operate all night as necessary to ensure that road safety is not compromised."
A central computer management system would be installed to control the county’s street lights remotely.
Existing sites where street lights are turned off at night include the A4 between Corsham and Box and the A361 Hilperton Drive in Trowbridge.
The council’s energy budget for street lighting is more than £1.2 million. The capital cost of implementing the changes would be £1.8 million and the annual energy cost savings are estimated at £300,000.
In a public consultation on the council’s budget in February this year savings from reduced street lighting scored the highest of the seven savings options.
The consultation on street lighting runs until September 30. To take part go to http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/street-lighting-changes-consultation.htm
The results of the consultation will be considered by the council’s Cabinet later this year and the switching off of lights would take place in 2013.