Leeds & West Yorkshire

Kirklees Council to switch off 2,000 street lights

Two thousand street lights are to be turned off in an experiment to save money in West Yorkshire.

Kirklees Council made the decision on Tuesday and will now speak to residents to decide where the lights can be switched off.

The street lighting will be turned off between midnight and 05:00.

There are currently 51,000 street lights in the Kirklees district, which is the area around Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

It is hoped the move will cut the council's £1.8m annual street lighting electricity bill.

The council said its street lighting electricity bill was expected to rise to about £2.9m a year by 2015.

Reduce light pollution

Councillor David Sheard stressed not all lights would be switched off in the experiment and those left on would be "better lights".

Mr Sheard said orange (sodium) lights "intimidate" people and the council hopes to replace 5,000 of these with more energy-efficient white lights, which have the added bonus of reducing light pollution.

The council approved a total of £455,000 to fund energy-efficient technology for the scheme.

The move comes just over a year after Kirklees Council scrapped a £66m scheme to improve 50,000 outdated street lights, because of council cuts.

Safety fears

Some residents have said they are concerned about the switch off leading to more crime.

But Mr Sheard said anti-social behaviour tended to happen under street lights, where people congregated.

He said the idea of turning lights off had been tried before and that thefts were not likely to rise.

"Burglars don't like working in the dark because they can't see what they're doing," Mr Sheard said.

A similar idea was trialled for six months in Exeter, where Devon County Council said it would only turn off lights in places with very low night-time pedestrian activity and other places could have their lights dimmed.

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