From this week some street lights in Leeds will begin to be switched off in the night in a bid to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.
The move is part of a three-year programme where 8,000 of the city’s 92,000 street lights will be turned off between midnight and 5.30am – aiming to save Leeds City Council £1.3m over 10 years and reduce the street lighting carbon emissions by 4.7 per cent a year.
The project will begin in outer areas of the city, starting in Garforth and Swillington, then Adel and Wharfedale and Otley and Yeadon.
The team will then work inwards until they reach the city centre, which will not be affected. Phase one will see about 3,250 lights on main traffic roads being switch off, with phase two turning off 4,750 lights on residential streets.
Concerns had been raised through a public consultation earlier this year, from groups such as Meanwood-based Community Action and Support Against Crime (CASAC), fearing the impact on crime levels.
But Leeds City Council said it will be closely monitored, with the option to turn the lights back on if any adverse affect on crime or road safety. A partnership between the council, emergency services, crime reduction, community safety and road safety representatives has carried out risk assessments on which areas to be switched off.
Coun Richard Lewis executive member for the economy and development Councillor Richard Lewis said the primary reason behind the switch-off is to reduce costs and carbon emissions but stressed road safety and the impact on crime remain of “utmost importance”.
He added: “It is important to say we do have the flexibility to turn the lights back on again if major problems arise; we do hope though that will not be necessary.”
Visit www.leeds.gov.uk/sles for information.