Council throws light on plans to curb street lamp hours

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MORE than £70,000 will be spent by a Yorkshire council on road markings and warning signs as part of its money-saving plan to turn off thousands of street lights at night-time.

Leeds City Council revealed in June it was proposing the switch-off of 8,000 of the city’s lights between midnight and 5.30am.

Now an internal council report has set out the schedule for the implementation of the measure, which is designed to save the local authority just over £1m over the next 10 years.

The report says that, under present plans, a total of 3,250 lights will switch to part-night operation on a phased basis from October this year through to September 2014. A further 4,750 lights will be moved to part-night operation in a rolling programme from March 2014 to September 2016.

The report also gives a breakdown of the cost of implementing the new system.

About £290,000 will be spent on work on the street lighting itself while £64,000 will go on warning signs. An additional £10,000 or so will be spent on road marking improvements.

The number of street lights due for night-time switch-offs only account for 8.7 per cent of the total across Leeds.

News of the plan was greeted with concern, however, by the Community Action and Support Against Crime charity earlier this summer.

A council report published in June recommended the move to part-night operation be avoided in areas with above average crime records or high traffic accident levels.

Speaking in the same month, Coun Richard Lewis, the local authority’s executive member for development and the economy, said: “Although these proposals are aimed at helping us cut emissions and save money to be invested in other essential council services, road safety and the impact on crime has to be our top priority.

“Careful consideration has been given to the proposals and we’ve taken on board the feedback of residents to provide extra reassurance.”

The council’s electricity bill for street lighting is just under £4m per year.