Street lights to be dimmed to save Cumbrian councils cash
Last updated at 07:30, Friday, 24 August 2012
Street lights across Carlisle are to be dimmed to 75 per cent to save on energy bills.
Cumbria County Council has launched the cost-cutting scheme on several major routes into Carlisle, including London Road, Stanwix Bank, Scotland Road and Wigton Road.
The dimmers work on a timer and, in Carlisle, have been set up to lower the lights to 75 per cent between 10pm and 6am.
The council says it will bring cost and energy savings of around 20 per cent and plans to extend it to other areas of the county but critics argue it could be unsafe for road users and increase crime.
In addition, the city council also has its own dimming schemes up and running in other parts of Carlisle.
Kevin Clinton, the head of road safety for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, told the News & Star he hoped plans to extend the scheme did not go ahead.
“If it does and there is any evidence that it has proven to be detrimental to road safety, [I would hope] that the decision would be reconsidered,” he said.
“Street lighting improves safety for drivers, riders, and pedestrians. Driving outside of daylight hours is more dangerous and pedestrians and vulnerable road users suffer from decreased visibility in the dark also.
“The presence of lighting not only reduces the risk of traffic accidents but also their severity.”
A spokeswoman for the county council said they had been testing the scheme in Carlisle over the summer and, “from the end of the summer, other areas of the county will be running various schemes”.
She said they had been “prepping” street lamps to accommodate dimming and “Penrith is likely to be next to receive dimmers in the coming weeks”.
She said the dimming schemes would take place on a “select group of lamps rather than all lamps in the district”.
She said that street light dimming would actually be “less of a safety issue” on well-used main roads like those previously mentioned than on quiet cul-de-sacs.
“Areas for dimming will be chosen based on this principle as we still want to maintain a safe network for the public,” she said.
Because it is still very early in the scheme, it is not possible to calculate the overall savings.
Cumbria police will monitor the areas the dimmers are in place. If there is any increase in crime or disorder, “appropriate steps will be taken” they said.
A force spokeswoman said: “Where this initiative has been implemented in other areas of the country, there appears to have been no significant increase in crime and anti-social behaviour, which we hope will be the case in Carlisle but emphasise steps will be taken if there is any cause for concern.”
Carlisle City Council has already introduced street light dimming in Dunmail Drive, Richardson Street in Denton Holme and on Currock Road.
The authority will introduce further street light dimming at Holmrook Road, Sandsfield Park (on the main part of the road, but not in cul-de-sacs), Queensway, in Morton West and at Crosshill Drive, in Morton, over the next two or three months.
A city council spokeswoman said: “We have chosen roads which are wider and have a heavier use of traffic on an evening and have less of a safety issue.”
Harraby city councillor Cyril Weber said: “I think in places like London Road it is common sense way of saving money.”
First published at 11:40, Thursday, 23 August 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
The town leaders and concerned citizens should consider contacting the IDA (http://www.darksky.org/about-ida) for more information about how to save energy costs on outdoor artificial lighting while maintaining safety and security. I'm sure there's a Win/Win situation that will satisfy everyone.
How about the fact that energy bills are increasing, hence the council requiring to make small changes. I'm sure the Council will not be making a great saving, but hopefully be able to maintain the energy bills as they have been istead of increasing.
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