PLANS to shut off street lighting for three hours a night across Hampshire have been approved.
Civic chiefs say the move, which will see no lighting on residential roads between the hours of 1am and 4am every night, will save £230,000 a year. It come into effect on April 1.
However, street lighting in certain ‘high crime’ areas will either not be turned off at all, or the timings varied. It will be judged on a case-by-case basis, the county council says.
Street lights on roads with speed bumps, or near light-controlled crossings, will also not be switched off. Illuminated road signs and bollards are unaffected by the proposal.
The decision, made this week on October 29 by the council’s transport and environment chief Rob Humby, will see a reduction in the authority’s carbon dioxide (CO2) output by 720 tonnes per year, avoiding £12,960 in carbon tax.
This will also contribute to the council’s efforts to reduce its CO2 impact, it says.
The move will not affect Portsmouth, which controls its own lighting.
The county council has gradually reduced its street lighting hours over the past few years. Currently it dims lights on residential roads by 45 per cent from “switch-on” until 11.30pm, and 65 per cent from then until 5.30am. It’s then raised back to 45 per cent until “switch-off”. On major roads this dimming is lessened to a maximum of 50 per cent during the early hours.
By the end of 2018, the council says its energy consumption will be less than half of what it was in 2010, with savings of around £2 million a year.
But this new proposal will allow even more cash to be saved.
This comes after 5,444 people took part in a public consultation into the plans, as well as 141 organisations, businesses, and groups.
From the report it was found that more than two-thirds of respondents supported the county council’s proposal to turn street lights off, and a 'dark period’ of between three and four hours, starting between midnight and 1am, was ‘widely supported’.
The council said almost half of the respondents said that they would prefer lights to stay on at night in town and city centres, but were ‘most supportive’ of lighting being turned off in residential areas.