Street lights to be switched off at midnight to save energy
Saturday 15 July 2006
Street lighting is to be switched off at midnight by a council aiming to cut energy bills and reduce carbon emissions. Essex County Council, one of the UK's biggest councils, hopes to reduce energy consumption by a third through the scheme, which begins in the autumn.
Environmental campaigners broadly welcomed the move but urged policymakers to consider using more energy-efficient light bulbs instead.
Many street lights in the rural areas of Maldon and Uttlesford will be fitted with timing devices to switch them off between midnight and 5am. This replaces the current system whereby lights are operated by a photoelectric cell which turns them on at dusk and off at dawn. The council funds the majority of street lighting across Essex, a total of about 120,000 lights. The annual energy consumption of this is 44 million kilowatt hours of electricity, producing 19,000 tons of carbon emissions.
Rodney Bass, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said the initiative was unprecedented. It was driven by environmental concerns, he said, and would achieve significant cost savings. He said the council's lighting bill had climbed by 63 per cent to £3.8m in the past three years. It would cost an initial £1.8m to install the timing devices, but bills would be reduced by £1m per year, according to council estimates.
Mr Bass said: "We have reviewed our use of energy and recognise that whilst it will clearly be appropriate for all-night lighting to remain in certain limited areas, it is wasteful for this practice to be generally applied across the county."
The pilot scheme will apply to rural areas well away from urban centres. The council plans to extend the project and new areas will be chosen in consultation with parish and district councils, residents and police. District councils that are chosen for the scheme but refuse to participate will foot their own lighting bills, and council tax payers face bearing the extra financial burden.
Germana Canzi, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: "As long as it is well targeted at rural areas then it seems a good idea. If it was wrongly used in built-up areas it may create fear and you would get people taking the car instead of walking. However, we would urge policymakers to consider using more energy-efficient bulbs."
Drug-resistant bacteria: Sewage-treatment plants described as giant 'mixing vessels' after scientists discover mutated microbes in British river
Cut VAT on recycled products to boost sales, Government told
Vital invertebrates decline by 45 per cent, study finds
The top 10 weirdest animal mating rituals
Wisborough Green becomes the first village in Britain to fight off fracking
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...