RISING inflation, increasing unemployment and spending cuts - these are arguably dark days and for people in Leeds they may be about to get darker.
Reducing the number of hours street lights are switched on is among a number of headline measures in a plan to cut the council’s energy bills, water consumption and carbon dioxide emissions over the next 10 years.
A report to senior councillors setting out details of the carbon and water managements plan highlighted a number of propsals including; “Reduction of street lighting energy through alterations to switch-off times, more efficient light fittings and changes to the spacing of lamp standards.”
Coun Richard Lewis (Lab, Pudsey), executive member for development, told the Executive Board that in Torbay, Devon, three out of every four street lights had been switched off.
He said: “It shows some local authorities have gone down an extreme path but we are not going down that route.
“We are talking about sensible measures to save money.”
He stressed nothing would happen without consultation and added: “We are not rushing into anything but there are huge energy savings to be made and there are place you don’t need lights on through the night.”
Coun Stewart Golton (Lib Dem, Rothwell) said in discussing switch-off times, community safety issues had to be taken into account.
Coun Ann Blackburn (Green, Farnley and Wortley) said it was a question of getting the balance right between safety and reducing energy consumption.
The council is aiming to cuts its carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2021.
A breakdown of the authority’s emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is associated with global warming, shows corporate buildings such as the Civic Hall, Town Hall and leisure centres produce 41 per cent, schools 27 per cent and street lighting 19 per cent.
The remainder is linked to vehicles and travel.
Along with street lighting savings, other measures in the plan – which the council hopes will produce savings of £6m by 2021 at today’s prices – include more efficient use of offices, generation of renewable electricity and journey reductions.