26 January 2011

More street lights will be switched off by Northamptonshire County Council as the authority bids to find further savings to make up a £20 million budget shortfall.

In December the authority announced that it would turn off 80 per cent of street lights in areas with a speed limit of 40mph and above as part of a bid to make a total in year saving of £68 million.

Now the council is looking to turn off more lights which will bring further savings by reducing energy bills and maintenance costs while also helping the authority to reduce its carbon footprint.

This would bring the total number of street lights to be turned off in the county to 30,000, equating to about 50 per cent of the stock but representing a larger proportion of the energy bill.

In addition other changes to the current policy, such as ceasing after dark inspections and the removal of some columns are still being proposed.

It is anticipated that these changes to the budget proposal will save the authority an additional £1 million on top of the £1 million announced in December.

Additional areas where lights would be turned off are:

  • Lights in industrial areas.
  • One in two lights in all other areas not already affected.

Cllr Heather Smith, county council cabinet member for highways, minerals and waste, said: “The idea of turning off street lights has been touted nationally for some time now and increasingly we’re seeing authorities around the country turning off street lights as a way of saving money.

“Both here and nationally there has been a tendency in the past to add more and more lights to the stock but today we have additional pressures on us to save energy so we’re having to rethink the way we provide this service.

“Although there are a lot of savings to be made by turning off lights there are also concerns raised with regard to safety. In our review we need to ensure that where lights have been put in for safety reasons we do what we can to keep the lights.”

Anyone who wants to have their say can do so on the You Choose website.