Energy-saving Plans to Change Street Lighting Move Forward

Shropshire Council approved proposals to convert 70% of its street lights to ‘part-night lighting’ in September 2011, meaning they are lit until midnight and then switch themselves off until 5.30am.  Work is due to start on the first lights in the programme in mid-June.

Not every light will be affected, and more than 6,000 lights will remain in dusk to dawn operation.  Since the original proposals were approved last year, a lot of work has taken place involving engineers, the police, and parish and town council representatives, on a risk assessment to decide which lights should be included in the scheme.

It takes 8.7 million kilowatt-hours of power (and 4,750 tonnes of carbon) to run the council’s 18,500 street lights, illuminated signs and traffic signals every year, which is the same amount of power used by 2,600 homes in a typical year.

Converting 12,500 of these lights to part-night lighting will reduce energy use by 20% – a saving of 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of power and almost 1,000 tonnes of carbon.

Carefully selected lights were switched off between midnight and 5.30am in Church Stretton in October 2011, and following the success of that pilot, the plan is to gradually roll out to the rest of the county over the next three to four years.

A work programme has now been agreed, which will see lights converted as they are maintained by the council’s contractors, Ringway.

The first lights to be converted will be in the areas to the south of Shrewsbury in mid-June, followed by southern Shropshire in July, August and September, and Shrewsbury later in the year.  Other areas of Shrewsbury and Oswestry will then follow during 2013-14, with north Shropshire and Bridgnorth areas planned for 2014-15.

Not all lights will be converted, because some are maintained by town and parish councils, and others are exempt from the scheme because they are close to a busy road junction, near sheltered housing or other safety reasons.  An interactive map is on Shropshire Council’s website which will allow people to enter their postcode and see what lights near them will be changing.

The webpages at shropshire.gov.uk/streetlighting.nsf also include lists of which streets are included in the scheme and how many lights in those streets will be converted.

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