Lights switch-off 'could save £300,000'

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.

Comments (9)

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1:40pm Sun 30 Dec 12

Jane Gordon says...

I'm surprised the council are not already using energy saving bulbs most households have been doing this for years now. Dimming the lights fine and reducing lighting hours in the summer but not total switch off in side roads these are more vumerable areas than main roads. I would not have thought a committee was needed to be set up to discuss what seems to be just plain common sense issues. I would agree with our local police they know our area best.
I'm surprised the council are not already using energy saving bulbs most households have been doing this for years now. Dimming the lights fine and reducing lighting hours in the summer but not total switch off in side roads these are more vumerable areas than main roads. I would not have thought a committee was needed to be set up to discuss what seems to be just plain common sense issues. I would agree with our local police they know our area best. Jane Gordon

4:27pm Sun 30 Dec 12

jon cooper says...

Some folk have a very strange imagination in how and where to save money in a responsible fashion ... On the one hand it's deemed to be outrageous to move a dormant musical venue in Kidderminster in order to save money from the county council budget; but yet on the other, it's totally acceptable to either dim or switch street lighting off altogether to save money ! Is this mentality really deemed to be responsible ????

I would be very interested to know which "non-key routes" and in which "urban areas" Councillor Oborski can foresee where it would be possible to pull the plug on street lighting in a safe and appropriate manner ? Has she or WCC took any advice from the police ? ? Judging by the concern of the police, then obviously not !

In the last few weeks we have sadly seen some dreadful stories of road accidents in Wyre Forest alone. I am literally staggered that dimming or turning street lights off altogether is even being considered !

(AN UNBELIEVABLE STORY)
Some folk have a very strange imagination in how and where to save money in a responsible fashion ... On the one hand it's deemed to be outrageous to move a dormant musical venue in Kidderminster in order to save money from the county council budget; but yet on the other, it's totally acceptable to either dim or switch street lighting off altogether to save money ! Is this mentality really deemed to be responsible ???? I would be very interested to know which "non-key routes" and in which "urban areas" Councillor Oborski can foresee where it would be possible to pull the plug on street lighting in a safe and appropriate manner ? Has she or WCC took any advice from the police ? ? Judging by the concern of the police, then obviously not ! In the last few weeks we have sadly seen some dreadful stories of road accidents in Wyre Forest alone. I am literally staggered that dimming or turning street lights off altogether is even being considered ! (AN UNBELIEVABLE STORY) jon cooper

5:19pm Sun 30 Dec 12

Gobby Robby says...

There's plenty of street lights that could be turned off, the one outside my house for starters. Being a cul de sac I don't think a single pedestrian has walked down there after midnight in the 40 odd years the street has been built.
There's plenty of street lights that could be turned off, the one outside my house for starters. Being a cul de sac I don't think a single pedestrian has walked down there after midnight in the 40 odd years the street has been built. Gobby Robby

5:43pm Sun 30 Dec 12

DOEPUBLIC says...

The purpose of the lights in the first place? What price is placed on public safety? Balanced thinking sheds more light on the context than just juggling the numbers in a political sudoku.
The purpose of the lights in the first place? What price is placed on public safety? Balanced thinking sheds more light on the context than just juggling the numbers in a political sudoku. DOEPUBLIC

8:20pm Sun 30 Dec 12

FranOb says...

Up until sometime in the 1980s many street lights in Wyre Forest, including the one outside my bedroom window, went off at about 12.30 am. New switches then changed everything and all lights stay on all night.
I totally agree with gobby robby, in many cul-de-sacs lights could be dimmed or switched off.
This is a painless way of saving £300,000 which would be much more acceptable than cutting that money from other services.
Up until sometime in the 1980s many street lights in Wyre Forest, including the one outside my bedroom window, went off at about 12.30 am. New switches then changed everything and all lights stay on all night. I totally agree with gobby robby, in many cul-de-sacs lights could be dimmed or switched off. This is a painless way of saving £300,000 which would be much more acceptable than cutting that money from other services. FranOb

9:55pm Sun 30 Dec 12

comberton hill questions says...

Maybe the council should not have wasted so much money on a new council building - common sense

You do not turn lights off our society has changed we are now a society which is more 24/7 years ago we were not - the lights are there for people's safety if you turned off the lights you would then have to risk assess every single road to make sure it was safe to do so. Who would pay for that oh yes us!!! Next you would have to reevaluate the inspection frequency as you would have to identify defects quicker as obviously in the dark you could not see them.

Next is personal safety do we make roads less safe because as previously stated people are out a lot later now than we were 30 years ago.

Lets look at councillors monies and follow their own appointed recommendations from IRP which would save money without affecting any resident.
Maybe the council should not have wasted so much money on a new council building - common sense You do not turn lights off our society has changed we are now a society which is more 24/7 years ago we were not - the lights are there for people's safety if you turned off the lights you would then have to risk assess every single road to make sure it was safe to do so. Who would pay for that oh yes us!!! Next you would have to reevaluate the inspection frequency as you would have to identify defects quicker as obviously in the dark you could not see them. Next is personal safety do we make roads less safe because as previously stated people are out a lot later now than we were 30 years ago. Lets look at councillors monies and follow their own appointed recommendations from IRP which would save money without affecting any resident. comberton hill questions

10:30pm Sun 30 Dec 12

DOEPUBLIC says...

FranO, there are such things as light sensitive and movement sensitive switches, so it it is not an inevitability that lights remain on. I note you avoid the obvious question. The purpose of the light in the first place.
FranO, there are such things as light sensitive and movement sensitive switches, so it it is not an inevitability that lights remain on. I note you avoid the obvious question. The purpose of the light in the first place. DOEPUBLIC

9:46am Wed 2 Jan 13

flowerpicker says...

What an excellent example WCC would be setting to the community if this were to happen. Perhaps in this age of austerity and awareness of wasted fuel they could look into the lighting of a new footpath with a closed bolted gate at each end of the path (therfore no access) but is lit by approx 16 lights. They gleam like search lights from about 5am-8.30am and again 4.30pm-10pm. This path runs from Plane Tree Close into Baxter Gardens Park. I may be wrong but it maybe something to do with the new St Georges Primary School but kids wouldn't be about at the time the path is lit but the gates are locked anyway. I can understand there needs to be security lighting for the school but the lighting I've mentioned really is too far from the building to be of any purpose. Together with the flood lighting from the Tennis Club this is hardly condusive for teaching kids about saving energy and light pollution. I hasten to add the tennis club lights are down lighters and are switched off when the courts are not in use, unlike the footpath (which no one can use and is bounded by 10foot high fencing) lights which beam upwards and are obviously on a time switch. I write as someone who lives close by and find the pollution from these lights beaming into my house. Why 16 lights, one each end would do the job as and when the footpath becomes of use.
What an excellent example WCC would be setting to the community if this were to happen. Perhaps in this age of austerity and awareness of wasted fuel they could look into the lighting of a new footpath with a closed bolted gate at each end of the path (therfore no access) but is lit by approx 16 lights. They gleam like search lights from about 5am-8.30am and again 4.30pm-10pm. This path runs from Plane Tree Close into Baxter Gardens Park. I may be wrong but it maybe something to do with the new St Georges Primary School but kids wouldn't be about at the time the path is lit but the gates are locked anyway. I can understand there needs to be security lighting for the school but the lighting I've mentioned really is too far from the building to be of any purpose. Together with the flood lighting from the Tennis Club this is hardly condusive for teaching kids about saving energy and light pollution. I hasten to add the tennis club lights are down lighters and are switched off when the courts are not in use, unlike the footpath (which no one can use and is bounded by 10foot high fencing) lights which beam upwards and are obviously on a time switch. I write as someone who lives close by and find the pollution from these lights beaming into my house. Why 16 lights, one each end would do the job as and when the footpath becomes of use. flowerpicker

3:29pm Wed 2 Jan 13

FlipC - The Mad Ranter says...

"in Gloucestershire, where a similar scheme has been implemented, crime and anti-social behaviour had reduced"

Because everyone's now too scared to go out at night? :-)

If all the lights were changed back to the 'correct' white ones rather than the near-useless sodium yellow then sure they could be dimmed down via a motion sensor.

Hey here's a bizarre thought - we could almost do away with the lights altogether if we could could fit our roads with some sort of reflective device to indicate the middle and edges of the road. Oo we could even have difference coloured ones to indicate junctions etc. that show a different colour depending on approach.

It would need maintenance, but as a passive device should prove a massive long-term saving. Surprised no-one has invented such a thing already?
"in Gloucestershire, where a similar scheme has been implemented, crime and anti-social behaviour had reduced" Because everyone's now too scared to go out at night? :-) If all the lights were changed back to the 'correct' white ones rather than the near-useless sodium yellow then sure they could be dimmed down via a motion sensor. Hey here's a bizarre thought - we could almost do away with the lights altogether if we could could fit our roads with some sort of reflective device to indicate the middle and edges of the road. Oo we could even have difference coloured ones to indicate junctions etc. that show a different colour depending on approach. It would need maintenance, but as a passive device should prove a massive long-term saving. Surprised no-one has invented such a thing already? FlipC - The Mad Ranter

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