Partial switch-off of street lights

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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RESIDENTS have been assured that switching off more than 230 street lights in the Spen Valley will not result in more crime.

On Tuesday night, council officers unveiled plans for the partial night time switch off of 77 street lights per electoral ward.

It follows a decision by Kirklees Council cabinet to push ahead with the plan to turn off non-essential street lights between midnight and 5am during the winter.

Currently, the district’s 51,000 lights cost the council more than £1.9m per year in energy costs and carbon tax.

However, higher energy costs will push that figure to £2.9m per year unless the changes are made by 2015.

The bill for December alone came to £330,000.

In total, 2,000 lights will be involved in the scheme across the whole of Kirklees.

Deputy council leader Coun David Sheard (Lab, Heckmondwike) said the plan was the only way the council could make the savings.

“The point of this is that the lights we have are not metered. We pay a bill based on how many lights we have and how long they are on for,” he said.

“If we just remove the lights we have to pay the electricity company £320 per light. So it takes longer to get the money back.”

The district’s street lights account for 19 per cent of the council’s carbon footprint. It is the equivalent of 1,700 electric kettles constantly boiling water 24 hours per day for one year.

The part-night switch off will take effect later this year, when the 2,000 lights have been chosen.

Residents were told that similar schemes by other councils had helped reduce anti-social behaviour and associated crime.

Ward councillors will now be asked to earmark 77 lights in their area for the partial switch-off

Members of the public are being encouraged to suggest possible street lights or stretches of road to be considered for the scheme.