Left in the dark

YOU YOU SEE IT...: Switching off streetlights in the Spen Valley is up for discussion by Area Committee on Tuesday.

YOU YOU SEE IT...: Switching off streetlights in the Spen Valley is up for discussion by Area Committee on Tuesday.

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PARTS of Spen could be plunged into the dark to save money.

Tuesday’s area committee will hear of plans to switch off large numbers of street lights during the night, between midnight and 5am.

The committee wants Spen folk to come forward to say which ones should be turned off and which should stay lit.

The contentious issue was discussed by Kirklees Council’s cabinet before Christmas and it was agreed that local people would have a say in which of the district’s 52,000 should be switched off.

The council is set to save £19,000 per year in energy costs, from an initial cost of £60,000.

Committee chairman Coun Andrew Pinnock said he wanted to hear the views of local people on the plan.

“It should be an interesting discussion and I’m sure members and the public will share their views,” he said.

“The Liberal Democrats prefer the idea of putting dimmer switches into the lamp posts.

“That way you would still have to install the switches and you would probably satisfy more people because there would still be some lighting.”

Under the current system, the street lights in Kirklees emit 11,840 tonnes of carbon dioxide, costing the council a further £140,000 per year in Carbon Reduction Commitment tax.

That is set to more than double to £350,000 by 2020, if changes are not made.

Switching off street lights has found favour in Derby, where the local council conducted a public consultation that found more than two thirds of residents were in favour of the plans.

Whether the reaction will be the same in Spen remains to be seen.

Coun Pinnock added: “It’s been seen in Cambridgeshire that switching off street lights actually reduces crime.

“That could be because the darkness means thieves cannot so easily see what they want to steal. It should be an interesting discussion.”

Also on the agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting at Cleckheaton town hall at 7pm is funding applications for the Cleckheaton Comets inline hockey team, to be used for kit, equipment and venue hire.

Follow me on Twitter @SpenG_Ben. Email me at ben.morgan@ywng.co.uk.