Leeds City Council’s ‘lights out’ move to save cash

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STREET lights across Leeds could be dimmed or switched off at night in a move that could save the city council nearly £1m over ten years.

Officials will in July start work on surveying and assessing streets across Leeds to find locations where it would be possible for the lights to be dimmed, switched off for part of the night or removed.

A provisional assessment has indicated that part-night switching off could be installed at about 3,250 of the 27,000 lights along traffic routes. Installation would cost £157,750 and save over £87,000 a year. An estimated 4,750 of the 64,000 lights in residential streets could be suitable for part-night switching at a cost of £118,750, producing annual savings of £47,500.

It is likely that lights would be switched off at midnight and come back on at 5am.

A report to the council’s Executive Board said the complete switch off or removal of lights would be limited to sites where it was clear that changes to the road system meant they were no longer needed.

The earliest any of the measures proposed could be installed is October this year, while carrying out assessment across the whole city will take up to three years.

At locations where the street lighting is changed reports of crime and road accidents will be closely monitored. If the figures rise and the alteration to the street lighting is the cause, the energy saving measures will be scrapped at that location.

When a street or a road is earmarked for dimming or part switch-off, councillors, parish councils, residents and businesses in the area will be consulted.

Coun Richard Lewis, executive member for development, said: “The key thing is how we develop this but there are considerable savings here over a number of years.”

New street lights have been installed across Leeds in recent years as part of Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme. Coun Andrew Carter, Conservative group leader, said they were popular with many people and it was important that, if any changes were proposed, councillors and other people were consulted.

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