Street lights could be switched off to tackle carbon emissions

Duplicate street lights are to be turned off by the county council.

Duplicate street lights are to be turned off by the county council. - Credit: Archant

Thousands of duplicate street lights could be switched off by Essex County Council in order to reduce carbon emissions.

The county council says the lights will only be switched off where they are not useful and contribute to wasting energy.

This is the case, the council says, with a number of street lights across Essex which illuminate the same area. Many were installed following new housing developments and then duplicated by Essex County Council.

Duplicate lights only account for a small proportion of the total street lights, the county council says, so their absence will not make a marked difference.

Councillor Kevin Paul Bentley, deputy leader and cabinet member for infrastructure at the council, said: "Our move will not greatly reduce light or affect safety. It means that we will not be burning lights that are unnecessary and ensures we are doing all we can to reduce carbon emissions, helping with our climate change work.

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"Each county councillor will be notified of lights to be switched off before we do so, in case there are any particular circumstances they are aware of. Safety will not be compromised."

The work will take place in collaboration with district and borough councils. It will start through a detailed 'desktop' mapping exercise and will be followed by on-site investigations of each light identified as a potential duplicate.

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Lights will only be switched off if lighting the same area as other street lights and if there are no safety concerns. Signs will be placed on switched-off lights, so that people do not report them as faulty.

A pilot project has already been mapped out. The county council has identified 36 possible duplicate lights out of a total of 2,260 in the targeted area for a potential switch-off. These account for an approximate 1.5 per cent of lights which are estimated to be duplicates. Should the same ratio be consistent across the county, then about 2,000 lights could be turned off. The total of county council-owned lights is 127,000.

For further information regarding any action taken, the switched-off street lights will be shown on a reporting tool at

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