Street lights to go out to reduce cost
STREET lights in parts of south Cheshire are to be switched off as a council looks to save cash.
Cheshire East Council is considering removing a number of lights in a bid to reduce costs and save energy.
Lights which are spared the chop will either be dimmed or automatically turned off at midnight.
Councillor Rod Menlove, pictured right, cabinet member for environmental services, said: "I want to reassure residents that we will choose the most suitable approach for where they live.
"We have successfully trialled changes to street lighting in Wilmslow, where 80 per cent of the local community was behind the scheme.
"There is absolutely no evidence that switching off street lights on stretches of roads has a detrimental effect on road safety and, in fact, has improved road safety in many areas."
The authority's highways team say they have consulted with both Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, with neither body offering any 'adverse comments' over the scheme.
All town and parish councils within the area have also been contacted.
The lights under review for removal are those located on routes between towns, with a small number of homes.
Alternative options include dimming, whereby lights will operate at 60 per cent of their normal strength.
That method will be introduced on routes which pass through local communities or where safety fears mean it is not suitable to turn them off altogether.
Officials are considering a part-night lighting system for street lights on housing estates, where they will turn off at midnight before firing back in between 5.30am and 6.30am.
It is hoped the move will cut down on carbon emissions and light pollution.
Opposition councillor David Brickhill said: "I am worried about the number of road collisions that may occur.
"The authority also needs to consider the activities which may be carried out in places where lights have been taken away and left in darkness. I am in favour of looking at the amount of energy being used and reducing that, but it could be done in a better way by perhaps replacing the lanterns with a lower voltage bulb."
In January, Staffordshire County Council drew up plans to dim street lights to cut electricity bills. The authority hopes the move will help save £8 million.
It is thought that the 99,000 street lights across Staffordshire will eventually be dimmed to an 'appropriate level' as part of the scheme.