Big switch-off savings shown
STREET lights are continuing to be switched off in the early hours across Devon in a cost-cutting scheme which has so far saved the county council more than £600,000.
The lights are being turned out between 12.30am and 5.30am for the scheme which is being rolled out in towns and villages up until 2015.
Crediton adopted the system when it launched in 2010. It is currently 'in progress' in Tiverton but no start date is yet available for Cullompton. Villages including Uffculme have also already adopted the scheme.
As a result of converting to the 'part night' lighting plans, consumption dropped in 2010-11 from just over 37,000,000kWh to around 34,000kWh at the end of 2011-12.
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The council said this equates to a saving of £315,000 per year.
Councillor Paul Graham, for Tiverton, said at a recent town council meeting there had been concerns expressed by people walking at night feeling threatened by the lack of lighting.
Cllr Polly Colthorpe said she had received similar comments from people, but unless there had actually been anti-social behaviour problems in those areas she felt that it would be difficult to reverse the decision.
Cullompton Mayor Cllr Gordon Guest supports the scheme and following discussions from police officers, he believes it is only the perception of crime that will increase.
"As Mayor, I'd rather they turned off lights at night than cut social services or spending on health, and it's surprising when you look (at the savings)," Cllr Guest said.
When the clocks go forward an hour in the spring, the light controls used do not have the capability to adjust for the hour change and the times will move to about 1.30am to 6.30am.
Areas of high night-time activity, such as town centres, will remain lit all night, but consideration will be given to dimming lighting where possible.
Main road lighting will be subject to risk assessments which will determine whether they remain lit all night, are converted to part-night lighting or are dimmed.
A county council spokesman said: "The programme is on target to deliver annual savings of 4,000 tonnes of carbon per year."