Common sense needed when looking at our street lighting

From: Madeleine Beaufoy, Walker Close, Glusburn, Keighley.

The manner in which the Yorkshire Post reported proposed energy conservation by selectively reduced street lighting at times of least street activity was dismaying (May 19).

Emotive language, spurious reasoning, headlines full of crime and accidents, raised fears and evoking wartime blackouts were unhelpful: they diverted attention from the sober assurances of responsible officers making considered decisions.

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The tone of reporting masked the inevitable challenge we all have to face – the need for energy conservation. We have grown accustomed to brilliant cities and glowing night skies to the point where concerns they are causing are reflected in the name – light pollution.

This is not the moment to debate the loss of night skies, disturbed sleep and damaged wildlife.

But over years, during which monitored sky glow has increased, a peak area being the Aire Valley, both CPRE and the Astronomical Society have seriously asked if it is not time to pause and consider not only the deleterious effects of intense night glow but the much more urgent problem of squandering finite energy resources.

Essex County Council has, for years now, saved hundreds of thousands of pounds by the simple expedient of reducing lighting after midnight on carefully selected areas monitored by police and ROSPA.

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The pattern of crime and accidents has not changed. Essex Council is now confidently extending this policy.

The NYCC Highways Department, Hull and Doncaster and other councils are an example to note. We, in our homes, are hardly encouraged to turn the thermostat down when nightly on TV we see hundreds of acres of empty office space brilliantly lit in the City.

Local council efforts, on the other hand, are encouraging positive thinking.

We are having to face difficult choices in the knowledge that they will affect our children and our planet home. Reduction of carbon emissions and energy conservation are among the most serious challenges.

We need to face them with informed common sense.

From: John Halkon, Hermitage Court, Richmond.

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All this talk about the levels of street lighting to be implemented by some councils to save the odd pound or two makes me think back to the early 1970s when I had a hand in the design of lighting schemes.

Then many older outdated schemes were being replaced and new ones installed.

At that time, safety and crime prevention was of prime importance followed by operating costs and therefore town centres, busy shopping areas and certain main roads remained fully illuminated but other main roads and residential streets had only part lighting between midnight and five or six in the morning.

In these areas full-time lighting points were generally at most road junctions with other lengths in darkness.

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I am unaware when these guidelines changed if they ever did, but certainly now lighting to all areas appears to be on for all the hours of darkness. I am sure with care and consideration savings can be made.

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