Street lights go off in energy-saving pilot

PUBLISHED: 06:18 20 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:44 31 May 2010

PIONEERING measures by Essex County Council to save energy and reduce light pollution are to be piloted in Uttlesford. On Friday the county council announced that it is to change its practice of keeping street lighting on throughout the night in an attemp

PIONEERING measures by Essex County Council to save energy and reduce light pollution are to be piloted in Uttlesford.

On Friday the county council announced that it is to change its practice of keeping street lighting on throughout the night in an attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and light pollution and save energy.

Cabinet member for highways and transportation, Cllr Rodney Bass, said that streetlights will be switched off between midnight and 5am in appropriate places.

He said: "As a council we take very seriously our responsibility to take local action on global environment issues.

"We encourage all Essex residents to think about the impact of their actions and we expect our staff to be equally responsible about saving energy.

"Now we are thinking more fundamentally about how our policies across the council affect the environment.

"We would ideally like to see as many as 90 per cent of the streetlights in the county switched off between midnight and 5am."

Two district councils have been selected to pilot the scheme - Uttlesford and Maldon.

Cllr Bass said the county council had been consulting with Uttlesford District Council about the proposal.

But Uttlesford District Council leader Mark Gayler said that he was disappointed with the way that the county council had announced the proposal and denied that there had been any significant consultation.

He said: "Obviously with the current climate change issues we welcome any ways to conserve energy and reduce emissions, but we are disappointed that the county council have not consulted us more.

"Uttlesford District Council was only told about the proposal the day before it was announced by Essex County Council and we feel that they have gone about this the wrong way.

"If we were all working together then I am sure we would be able to come up with energy-saving measures, but there are aspects of this - such as community safety and road safety - that really need looking at."

Cllr Bass said: "A new piece of technology will allow the county council to control the times street lights are active more accurately.

"Each streetlight that will switch off between midnight and 5am will require modification as part of a project that will cost £1.8million."

The council expects the scheme to cut 30 per cent from its street lighting energy bill - and carbon dioxide emissions.

Over the next few years, the council is also set to replace conventional streetlights with new lights that produce whiter, better directed light and less light pollution.

New housing developments will also no longer automatically receive street lighting funded by the county council, if lights are not required in the interest of road safety.

Cllr Bass said that the modification of lights in Uttlesford was likely to begin in September.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "Essex Police have a strong working relationship with Essex County Council, particularly within the Crime and Disorder Reduction partnership. The county council has given a clear undertaking to consult with Essex Police on a case-by-case basis as to whether switching off lights will have an impact on crime and disorder, or on road policing and road safety.

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