Gwynedd council to dim street lamps to save money
Street lights in Gwynedd are to be dimmed in the early hours of the morning to save money.
The plan - which has already been trialled in some areas - could save £147,565 in energy bills over 10 years.
Officers believe it is a better idea than switching the lights off between midnight and 5.30am as it avoids leaving areas in darkness.
The council is responsible for 17,351 lighting units, 5,170 lit highway signs and 35 traffic signal controls.
The annual cost of the service is approximately £1.54m out of which £500,000 is spent on energy costs.
Turning the lights off completely between midnight and 5.30am was considered, but the authority's head of highways and municipal, Gwyn Morris Jones, believes dimming the lights is a better idea.
In his report to councillors he said: "The street lighting unit has to date trialled the dimming of street lighting levels on a small scale in both Arfon, Dwyfor and Meirionnydd.
End Quote Gwyn Morris Jones Gwynedd council head of highways and municipal
It appears local people have not noticed, as the unit has yet to receive any feedback from the local community”
"The most notable of these is within the Peblig Ward in Arfon [which covers part of Caernarfon] where over 140 units have been replaced by dimmed lanterns.
"It appears local people have not noticed, as the unit has yet to receive any feedback from the local community."
He added dimming the lights is a good long term option for reducing energy consumption whilst not affecting the range of "community benefits" street lighting provides.
Those benefits include fewer night time personal injury accidents, the reduction of street crime and helping emergency services to identify locations.
Even when dimmed the lights will still comply with British safety standards, he said.
"More importantly road safety would not be compromised," Mr Jones added.
A council spokesman said the recommendation will now be considered by the council's savings programme board for early implementation in order to achieve the targeted financial and carbon emission savings for the 2012/13 financial year and beyond.
"The system involves the replacement of current lanterns with more efficient lanterns capable of operating at variable levels.
"It will entail the installation of new photocells and switchgears to time and control the electricity supply to the lanterns for the purpose of dimming light levels from midnight to 5.30am," he added.