Do we need street lights on estates?

Do we need street lights on estates?

Do we need street lights on estates?

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

FUTURE housing developments could be plunged into darkness in a bid to save money.

Calls are being made for new estates to either have no street lights at all or rely on ‘intelligent’ bulbs that automatically switch off when nobody is around.

Council chiefs say neighbourhoods in many rural parishes in the county have no street lights and would find it “an alien concept” for the skies to be “lit up at night” like urban areas.

Cash-strapped Worcestershire County Council spends £2 million a year on energy costs for 52,000 lights, and is concerned prices will rise above inflation again this year.

Now bosses are floating an idea to review the way it installs lighting on all new housing developments to avoid a funding crisis.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, deputy leader and cabinet member for the economy, said: “There are large numbers of new developments and we will have to think very carefully about where we put lights. It’s terribly difficult for us to remove lights once they have been put up.

“In some parishes and villages people think of it as this alien concept and lighting is a rising cost for this council, so let’s think very carefully about where they go in the future.”

Bosses are hoping the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), a housing document which earmarks land for new homes up to 2030, is an ideal chance to change lighting policies.

The costs of street lamps and road signs is 45 per cent of County Hall’s yearly electricity bill and 21 of the authority’s current Co2 emissions.

Coun Geraghty’s comments, made during a cabinet meeting, were welcomed by Coun Tony Miller, who said: “Intelligent lighting is available, and it’s ready for use so let’s explore this option.

“In many new developments which have been built recently you hear people saying they don’t want the sky illuminated at night – I say let’s listen to those views.”

As your Worcester News first revealed last August, the council has been considering dimming some lights at night but shelved the plans last year after finding out it would need to invest about £3.4 million to save £600,000 a year.

Bosses have not ruled out the possibility of launching it later this year, but only if it leads to quicker savings.

Councillor Ken Pollock said: “There is this perception that lights help reduce crime, but the police evidence contradicts that – they say criminals are opportunistic and are often put off dark areas because they’d need a torch.”

Comments (9)

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10:06am Mon 11 Feb 13

BadgerMash says...

Street lighting, especially where it is on all night, is an appalling waste of money and resources. We should be switching off wherever we can. The evidence about crime and safety is very clear so the "curtain twitchers" need to be politely ignored and street lighting switched off when not absolutely necessary.
Street lighting, especially where it is on all night, is an appalling waste of money and resources. We should be switching off wherever we can. The evidence about crime and safety is very clear so the "curtain twitchers" need to be politely ignored and street lighting switched off when not absolutely necessary. BadgerMash
  • Score: 0

10:10am Mon 11 Feb 13

Lew Smoralz says...

Having seen whole new estates in the south utilising "intelligent" lighting, I must say that it is very impressive. I took a walk and was pleased at how lights would switch on and off for me, very comforting and nothing to be feared by those with a bad fear of the dark.

However, when a light fails it needs to be replaced immediately, as this leaves a large patch in the dark and that could be disconcerting.

The cost of electricity is going to keep rising, so investing in such cost saving devices seems to me to be a wise choice.
Having seen whole new estates in the south utilising "intelligent" lighting, I must say that it is very impressive. I took a walk and was pleased at how lights would switch on and off for me, very comforting and nothing to be feared by those with a bad fear of the dark. However, when a light fails it needs to be replaced immediately, as this leaves a large patch in the dark and that could be disconcerting. The cost of electricity is going to keep rising, so investing in such cost saving devices seems to me to be a wise choice. Lew Smoralz
  • Score: 0

11:19am Mon 11 Feb 13

More Tea Vicar says...

Something I've long been in favour of.

Some lighting is absolutely necessary, but in general, certainly between about midnight and, say, 05.30, most lights could easily be switched off.

I believe the M5 night switch-off passed off without major incident...?
Something I've long been in favour of. Some lighting is absolutely necessary, but in general, certainly between about midnight and, say, 05.30, most lights could easily be switched off. I believe the M5 night switch-off passed off without major incident...? More Tea Vicar
  • Score: 0

12:10pm Mon 11 Feb 13

i-cycle says...

The County Council is to be congratulated on a sensible and pragmatic response to the need for cuts and reducing our carbon footprint.

The use of "Intelligent" will provide light when needed.

Can I assume the Council will also be looking to replace its existing street lights with new LED and intelligent models?

There's also illuminated road signs and bollards which may be worth looking at?
The County Council is to be congratulated on a sensible and pragmatic response to the need for cuts and reducing our carbon footprint. The use of "Intelligent" will provide light when needed. Can I assume the Council will also be looking to replace its existing street lights with new LED and intelligent models? There's also illuminated road signs and bollards which may be worth looking at? i-cycle
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Mon 11 Feb 13

More Tea Vicar says...

I just hope this isn't used to present the SWDP as anything other than the environment-wrecking rather disgusting little enterprise that it is.
I just hope this isn't used to present the SWDP as anything other than the environment-wrecking rather disgusting little enterprise that it is. More Tea Vicar
  • Score: 0

4:21pm Mon 11 Feb 13

BadgerMash says...

Red sky at night: streetlights too bright.
Red sky at night: streetlights too bright. BadgerMash
  • Score: 0

4:41pm Mon 11 Feb 13

Andy-Apache says...

"they say criminals are opportunistic and are often put off dark areas because they’d need a torch.”

Or a £150 night vision scope. Absolutely no chance of being spotted, it being dark and all.

LED lighting, even left on, would reduce power consumption by ~ 75%.
"they say criminals are opportunistic and are often put off dark areas because they’d need a torch.” Or a £150 night vision scope. Absolutely no chance of being spotted, it being dark and all. LED lighting, even left on, would reduce power consumption by ~ 75%. Andy-Apache
  • Score: 0

10:46am Tue 12 Feb 13

More Tea Vicar says...

i-cycle wrote:
The County Council is to be congratulated on a sensible and pragmatic response to the need for cuts and reducing our carbon footprint.

The use of "Intelligent" will provide light when needed.

Can I assume the Council will also be looking to replace its existing street lights with new LED and intelligent models?

There's also illuminated road signs and bollards which may be worth looking at?
I am totally for the idea, on cost and environmental grounds. It's not just the fuel use, it's also the the perma-glow issue, which is harmful to many animals (and, I suspect, maybe humans too).

My only concern about 'intelligent' models would be that the effect might be similar to the security lights some residents use, which come on, quite brightly, when any one, or any animal, passes by - can be quite disconcerting.
[quote][p][bold]i-cycle[/bold] wrote: The County Council is to be congratulated on a sensible and pragmatic response to the need for cuts and reducing our carbon footprint. The use of "Intelligent" will provide light when needed. Can I assume the Council will also be looking to replace its existing street lights with new LED and intelligent models? There's also illuminated road signs and bollards which may be worth looking at?[/p][/quote]I am totally for the idea, on cost and environmental grounds. It's not just the fuel use, it's also the the perma-glow issue, which is harmful to many animals (and, I suspect, maybe humans too). My only concern about 'intelligent' models would be that the effect might be similar to the security lights some residents use, which come on, quite brightly, when any one, or any animal, passes by - can be quite disconcerting. More Tea Vicar
  • Score: 0

12:24pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Andy-Apache says...

I suppose turning off the lights would hide the ugly 'concrete scapes' that the SWDP will bring, so it's not all bad.
I suppose turning off the lights would hide the ugly 'concrete scapes' that the SWDP will bring, so it's not all bad. Andy-Apache
  • Score: 0

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