06 June 2011

Detailed maps of where street lights have been switched off in the county are to be published on Northamptonshire County Council’s website.

Plans for Corby are now on the website with South Northamptonshire next, while remaining areas will follow as soon as on-site checks have been completed. In addition there is also a frequently asked questions section as well as the rationale use to determine the switch off.

Although the de-fault position for residential areas within a 30mph limit was the starting position, a number of different criteria were used in assessing where exceptions to this would occur, specifically where extra lights would be left on.

Maintenance crews then worked to detailed plans when carrying out the switch-off and although crews generally worked to these detailed plans when completing the switch-off there was, and is, also an allowance for making individual assessments on site, such as where a selected light may be obscured by a tree.

A full after dark check is also then undertaken to sense-check the impact and which will pick up light outages and specific dark areas, with appropriate changes then made.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for transport and infrastructure said: “By publishing these detailed maps and this information we hope to clarify the rationale we used for turning off lights.

“Lights were not turned off on an ad-hoc basis as is being claimed. Instead careful consideration was given to which lights were turned off and which ones were left on.

“We looked at different criteria in the assessment, including crime figures, accidents rates and proximity to complex junctions.

“While we will investigate any specific issues raised by the community, it will not involve turning on huge swathes of lights and if we turn lighting back on in one place we’ll have to turn it off in another – such are the huge savings we’re having to make.”

The council first announced in December last year with the draft budget proposals its intention to turn off 70 per cent of all lighting in non-residential areas with a speed limit of 40mph and above and 50 per cent in residential areas with a speed limit of 30mph and below.

The council needs to make £73 million in-year savings and turning off about half the street lights contributes to an overall annual savings of £2m in street lighting for the council.

More information about the streetlight switch-off can be found at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk

The map can be accessed at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/streetlightsmap