Turning off street lights could save councils thousand of pounds

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MORE than 8,000 street lights could be switched off across Leeds and Rotherham.

In Leeds around 8,000 of the city’s 92,000 lights could be turned off plunging some residential and rural roads into darkness between midnight and 5am, while in Rotherham up to 300 lights are set to be only used part-time.

Leeds says all lighting is being considered as part of its review but Rotherham, says residential areas will not be hit by the changes to street lighting.

Based upon current energy prices Leeds City Council estimates the move could save the local authority £941,000 over the coming decade. Rotherham Council estimates the move will save around £7,500 a year.

Responding to a request for information under the Freedom of Information act Leeds City Council said: “We have plans to switch off around 8,000 of our 92,000 street lights between the hours of midnight and 5am.

“The switching of the lights would be phased in over a three year period from an anticipated start later in 2012.

“There are a number of conditions on areas where we would choose to do this to maintain road safety and manage the fear of crime. The council is about to embark on a period of consultation about the initial proposals before making the decision to proceed.”

The response adds: “Consideration is being given to those locations where street use drops dramatically at night. It is also anticipated that we may permanently switch off some street lights but only where they are considered no longer necessary, we anticipate perhaps around 15-20 streets.”

In Rotherham the local authority has already carried out a trial, switching off some lighting between midnight and 6am, which is in the process of being rolled out to other locations, with up to 300 street lights affected.

In a response to a Freedom of Information request Rotherham says the changes are taking place: “To save money on the street lighting energy bill and to reduce carbon emissions.”