Street lights off to cut carbon emissions

Posted: 29/10/2012

More and more of Britain’s street lights are being turned off at night by local authorities in a bid to reduce carbon emissions and save money. Street lights are being turned off as early as 9pm on some motor ways, residential streets, major roads, town centres and even on foot paths and cycle routes in a desperate attempt to meet carbon emission targets and combat riding energy bills.

The Sunday Telegraph who carried out an investigation nationwide found out how many lights are turned off and revealed that a massive 3080 miles of motorway and trunk roads are completely unlit with a further 47 miles of motorway having their lights turn off from 12am to 5am including the M1 between Luton and Milton Keynes, one of the counties busiest roads. Out of the 137 councils that responded to the survey by The Sunday Telegraph, 73% stated that they either switched off their street lights or dimmed them at nights and some were also in the process of planning to do however, all of England’s 27 county councils have turned off or dimmed their street lights.

Some council’s expect to save hundreds of thousands of pounds by switching off their street lights at night or making them dimmer however some council admit they might not see the savings for another five to six years. The switching off of street lights has been criticised by motoring organisations who state that the economic and environmental benefits were over stated and also warned that less street lighting would lead to a higher number of crime and accidents.

70% of the motorway network across the country is now unlit after midnight including sections of the M1, M2, M4, M5, M6, M27, M54, M58, M65 and M66. The Highways Agency claims that the full switch off saved them £400,000 last year whilst reducing carbon emissions and they have more blackouts planned for the future.

A massive 12,500 street lights in Shropshire are turned off between 12am and 5.30am and Derbyshire County Council are planning on turning off 40,000 lights at night time. In parts of Lincolnshire, street lights are turned off as early at 9pm and Caerphilly in Wales no longer has any lights in their industrial estates over night.

On the other hand, Worcestershire County Council postponed plans to switch off or dim their lights after they found it would cost more money to implement the scheme that it would save. They are currently paying £2 million a year to light 52,000 street lamps and found that it would cost £3.4 million in investment to save £600,000 but it they are still running a trial to before a final decision is made.

Has your home been submerged into complete darkness at night time? Did the council give you notice that the street lights were going to be switched off and do you think this is a good way to save money and carbon emissions or are you afraid that it is going to increase accidents and crime in your local area?

Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd

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(0) Comments energy, carbon emissions, local authority, council, housing, street

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