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Big streetlight switch-off moves a step closer
THE next steps have been revealed in a scheme which will see streetlights across North Yorkshire being switched off overnight in a bid to save council bosses £400,000 a year.
North Yorkshire County Council is planning to turn off more than half of the region’s lights – not including those in York – between midnight and 5am, when traffic levels are at their lowest, as part of moves to cut costs.
The authority says the move will also reduce carbon emissions by a fifth. The first phase of the scheme will concentrate on Harrogate, Knaresborough and Scarborough and is scheduled for completion by the end of the year once public consultations for all three areas come to an end.
A timetable for the rest of the project, which will go before a council scrutiny committee next week, shows Hambleton and Richmondshire would be next in line for overnight switch-offs.
The process would take place between next May and March, 2014. Lights in the Selby district will come in for attention between April, 2014 and March, 2015.
The final phase, between April, 2015 and March, 2016, would cover streetlights in Ryedale, although the precise numbers of lights which will be turned off in each area have yet to be confirmed.
The council has already introduced a “part-night” lighting scheme for 230 of the 380 columns on the Selby bypass. This move alone has already cut about £14,500 a year from the overall annual £1.7 million streetlighting bill.
A report by David Bowe, the council’s corporate director for business and environmental services, said the authority was looking at dimming any lights along the Selby bypass which had not been turned off overnight, the cost of which would be recouped through energy savings within four years.
It is also putting new technology into “photo cells” used in Selby and Harrogate’s lights so they recognise GMT and can be turned off strictly between midnight and 5am.
“The council’s main concerns when considering which streetlights will be switched off include the night-time accident record and criminal behaviour,” said Mr Bowe’s report.
“While the primary purpose of road and streetlighting is highway safety, it is acknowledged that fear of crime is an important consideration.
“The council is working closely with the police and others to ensure the proposals will not adversely impact on community safety.”
Lights which will not be switched off at night include those on main roads and junctions, routes with a “significant” night-time accident and injury record, areas with high crime rates, those outside sheltered housing and hospitals, and lights in the busiest parts of town centres.