Night-time blackout planned to save money

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STREET lights across Derbyshire are set to be turned off between midnight and 5.30am each night, councillors have decided.

A public consultation on the plans, which aim to save money and cut carbon emissions, found that 69 per cent of people were in favour of turning off 40,000 lights for a few hours each night.

Of the 842 responses, 64 per cent were also in favour of permanently switching off around 900 of the county’s 89,000 street lights in rural and non-residential areas.

Coun Simon Spencer, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “This is not about plunging Derbyshire into darkness. It’s a sensible approach to save both carbon and money.

“We’ll look carefully at every area before we switch any lights off, and there are many areas, town centres and high crime areas for example, where we won’t switch any lights off at all.”

Lights will not be turned off in town centres, on the busiest roads, on roads with a “significant night-time traffic accident record” and in areas identified by the police as having an above average record of crime.

They will also not be switched off in areas with CCTV or police surveillance equipment; in neighbourhoods with sheltered housing and where road safety measures such as roundabouts and speed humps are already in place.

It is thought that turning off the street lights will save Derbyshire County Council more than £550,000 a year on energy bills.

Last year the authority spent around £5.5m on lighting and maintaining street lights, with £2.7m being spent on electricity. That figure is expected to rise to £2.9m in the coming financial year, however.

A spokesman for the county council added: “The scheme will be rolled out across the county on an area by area basis over a three or four year period and residents will be able to comment about the particular plans for their area.”