Street lights could be dimmed to save cash

UP TO 2,000 street lights in Kirklees could be turned off for part of the night in a bid to save money.

Senior councillors will be asked to look at ways in which the current energy costs of £1.8m can be reduced for its 51,000 lights – a cost which it is anticipated will rise to around £2.9m a year by 2015.

The street lighting network emits 11,840 tonnes of carbon dioxide which costs Kirklees Council £140,000 in Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) tax. This tax is due to increase to £30 per tonne by 2020 and will then cost in the region of £350,000 if the street lighting system remains unchanged.

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One of the measures, which will be considered by members of the council’s cabinet committee when it meets today, will be to replace the current control gear in 5,000 street lights which still use low pressure sodium, orange light, with more energy-efficient controls at a cost of £395,000.

Another proposal is to turn off up to 2,000 street lights for part of the night when they are least needed which would mean installing energy-efficient technology at a cost of £60,000, but which will save around £19,000 per year depending on the lights to be modified. These lights would remain in use until around midnight and during darker mornings from approximately 5am.

The authority says the proposed switch-off timings ensure that the lights would be in use when more people are about and when the public most need well-lit streets to go about their daily lives.

The views of the community are being sought and, pending the results of this, a trial scheme is likely to be run. The authority says results of the consultation will also be used to decide suitable areas for the partial switch-off will have the least impact on vulnerable members of the community.

Members of the cabinet will be asked to approve a total of £455,000 to fund energy-efficient technology for the scheme when they meet today.