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Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010
The lights go out as Devon councils save money
Chris Whipp
By Chris Whipp
BBC Radio Devon correspondent

A light in Shillingford St George
Other communities could be following Shillingford St George

It seems like such a simple idea: switch off the lights and save money as well as helping the environment.

Over the next five years, street lights are being turned off overnight in communities across Devon.

It is hoped that switching some lights off and dimming others could save up to £450,000.

The idea was trialled for six months in the Teignbridge village of Shillingford St George and neighbouring Shillingford Abbot, near Exeter.

The parish council volunteered to take part in the experiment after an approach from Devon County Council.

It was put to the vote and the villagers decided to give it a try.

Shillingford St George sign
Shillingford St George trialled the switch-off

The chairman of Shillingford St George Parish Council, Richard Turpin, said people have hardly noticed any difference: "It doesn't affect us much, it's only between 12:30 at night and 5:30 in the morning, so usually there's no-one about at that time."

Village resident, Mike Selby-Heard, thinks it is "an absolutely cracking idea".

He says lights aren't needed in the countryside, although, as he puts it, "in the towns, where the rogues are, it may be different".

Richard Turpin agrees: "Perhaps in the smaller parishes, but not the big cities so much, where there's vandalism and such-like."

However, the county council says it would only turn off lights in places with very low night-time pedestrian activity. Other places could have their lights dimmed.

Devon County Council's electricity bill for its street lights currently stands about £2.2 million.

Street lighting also accounts for about 30% of the council's carbon emissions - so there would be a green saving as well.

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