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Big switch off to save £500k a year

Worcester Editorial 12th Feb, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

TWO THIRDS of street lights will be switched off in the city overnight in a bid to save half a million pounds a year.

The move will see hundreds of residential streets plunged into darkness between midnight and 6am with only selected roads, bends and junctions left lit up.

Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet voted in favour of introducing the switch off throughout the county at last Thursday’s (February 6) meeting following a six-month trial in Droitwich last year.

The council manages about 52,000 street lights and 8,000 illuminated road signs, but with energy costs increasing they cost £2.4million a year to keep lit throughout the night.

They also account for almost a fifth of the council’s C02 emissions which it is also looking to cut.

The work to convert the lights will get underway in April with about 1,000 changed each month and it is expected to take from 18 months to two years to complete.

Savings to the taxpayer once the scheme is finished is estimated to be about £500,000 a year.

Discussions have already taken place with the police and the council has said it will continue to work closely with them to monitor crime rates during the programme.

Coun John Smith, county council cabinet member for highways, said: “Like residents and businesses the council’s energy bills have increased over the last few years and it’s right we look at reducing the spend on street lighting, whilst at the same time cutting our carbon emissions.

“This is something that has been considered and discussed for some time. We understand this issue is important, which is why, following a trial period in Droitwich, we’re looking to move things forward in a flexible way. Working to a ‘one-size, fits all approach’ simply wouldn’t work.

“It’s very important people are not confused and that it’s understood this will be is a part-night switch-off of two out of three lights, in residential areas, from midnight until 6am.”

What do you think? Will you feel unsafe in your street if the lights are switched off? E-mail editor@worcesterobserver.co.uk with your thoughts.

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