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The lights are going out all over Wiltshire

December 18, 2012 8:32 AM

Man looking at unlit street lightWiltshire Council plans to cut the amount of money it spends on street lighting, and has come up with proposals to dim some lights and remove others. It points out that there is no legal requirement for councils to provide street lights, and that if the proposals go ahead it would save £300,000 per year.

Wiltshire has over 40,000 streetlights. Most of these are on all night whether they are needed or not.
WC proposes to convert about half of the street lights to operate for part of the night - generally they will be switched off between midnight and 5.30 am.
Lights at junctions, pedestrian crossings and where required for safety will remain on all night.
Lighting levels on some street lights are to be adjusted to be dimmer when traffic flows and pedestrian movements are reduced.
Lighting where there are CCTV systems, in town centres, and in areas where crime is a problem will remain on.
Lights which are "no longer required" will be turned off permanently.
The Council's energy budget for street lighting is over £1.2 million, and energy costs will increase in the future, especially with the introduction of the carbon tax.

The council could use a high-tech system which would see lighting levels around the county being controlled and adjusted by computer. Modern LED lights make this possible. The central management system would enable individual lights to be operated separately. For example, lights in some streets could be timed to come on or go off at particular times according to circumstances. Lighting in town centres could be dimmed or turned off during the evenings, but turned up late at night when people leave clubs and pubs. The lighting times can be changed remotely, and the system can accommodate changes to British Summer Time. Lights that are faulty, or remain on all day, can be detected remotely and repair schedules set up.

Over 1,300 street lights have already been converted to part night lighting, and the council has already converted its illuminated bollards to low energy units.

A consultation held over the summer revealed general support for the proposals, and a report goes to the WC cabinet today for a decision on which of the options to proceed with.

For the full report see the cabinet agenda page 17.