Page last updated at 08:49 GMT, Thursday, 8 October 2009 09:49 UK

Night switch-off to save energy

Street light
Devon County Council annually spends 2.2m on street lighting electricity bills

Street lights in some areas of Devon are to be switched off during the early hours in a bid to save money and cut carbon emissions.

Over the next six months 8,700 lamps which are usually illuminated from dusk to dawn will be switched off between 0030 GMT and 0530 GMT.

Devon County Council is responsible for about 75,000 street lights and annually spends £2.2m on its electricity bills.

Over the next five years it plans to switch more lights to part-night use.

It costs up to £30 to convert each light to switch off at night but the council says the cost will be recouped in just three years from the energy savings made.

Star-lit nights

Devon's street lights currently produces about 20,000 tonnes of carbon each year but it is estimated that part-night lighting could save 4,000 tonnes a year as well as slashing the council's energy bill by £450,000.

Lights on main roads and town centres will remain lit throughout the night but the council plans to consider dimming lamps in these areas where feasible.

It is also working with Devon and Cornwall Police to ensure that the impact on crime, disorder and road safety are taken into account if lighting is reduced.

The environment was the driving factor behind approaching the county council for part-night lighting but when we heard the figures on money and power savings, the attraction was even greater
John Coates, Aveton Gifford Parish Council

Part-night lighting schemes have already been introduced in Buckinghamshire, Essex, Gloucester, Hampshire and Oxfordshire, as well as other parts of Devon such as Aveton Gifford, near Kingsbridge.

John Coates, chairman of Aveton Gifford Parish Council, said: "The change has been very well received and switching the lights off overnight is much more suited to a rural community.

"The environment was the driving factor behind approaching the county council for part-night lighting but when we heard the figures on money and power savings, the attraction was even greater.

"Safety has been considered as there's still a light at the subway which stays on all night, but we're enjoying the star-lit nights."

In April the Highways Agency implemented a similar initiative where lights between junctions 29 and 30 on the M5 near Exeter were switched off between midnight and 0500 GMT.

That scheme is expected to reduce electricity costs by £8,000 a year and cut annual carbon emissions by 40 tonnes.



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SEE ALSO
Council dims lights to save money
03 Oct 09 |  Manchester
County to turn off street lights
25 Jul 09 |  Mid Wales
Night switch-off for M5 lighting
12 Mar 09 |  Devon
County examines lights switch-off
16 Feb 09 |  South West Wales

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