TURNING off or dimming street lights across Worcestershire would save a “significant amount”of money according to a Wyre Forest councillor.

Liberal county councillor Fran Oborski, a member of a task group set up to look at the possibility of a switch-off between midnight and 5am or 6am, said it could be done on “non-key routes” in urban areas.

Worcestershire County Council is responsible for 52,000 street lights and 8,000 illuminated road signs, which cost about £2 million a year in energy costs and account for 21 per cent of its CO2 emissions.

In February this year, the cabinet agreed to set up a scrutiny group to consider switching off or dimming lights or converting to energy-saving bulbs. The group’s report says switching off 50 per cent of residential street lights between midnight and 6am could save £261,479 a year.

Turning off all street lights between midnight and 5am could save £463,748 – although Mrs Oborski said that was unlikely to be done.

Councillors admitted a switch-off could see a 19 per cent increase in electricity costs per unit A a 35 per cent reduction in total consumption, however, would still see 22 per cent cost savings.

Light bulbs would also need to be replaced and those maintenance costs would be recouped within two years.

Proposals sparked concern from the police that higher levels of darkness could increase the risks of crime and road accidents.

Councillors said, however, in Gloucestershire, where a similar scheme has been implemented, crime and anti-social behaviour had reduced.

Mrs Oborski said: “We are looking at mainly urban estates – we are not talking about main roads or very rural areas. I think it would be OK and we would probably save well over £300,000 – a significant amount.

“On the Offmore estate, for example, you would leave Tennyson Way on and cut off lighting on some of the side roads.”

Cabinet members will consider the report at a meeting in the new year.