In a move to reduce carbon emissions as well as save money on energy costs, some of Cornwall Council streetlights are set to be turned off or dimmed further when most residents are asleep between the hours of midnight and 5am.
Richard Willams-Pears, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for transport said: “This measure to switch off and save, complements the ongoing project to upgrade 55,000 streetlights with new energy efficient LED light fittings. Replacing them will cut the emissions generated by around 50% by the time the project is complete in 2025 – equivalent to 17,000 round trips by car to London from Truro, or 18.5 round trips to the moon, again by car, and saving around £1 million of Cornish taxpayers’ money being spent on energy costs based on current prices.
“This next initiative for part-night operation and ultra-dimming of streetlights where it is safest do so recognises demands from local communities to switch-off after midnight, whilst dimming but keeping streetlights on in areas where there is a strong night-time economy.”
“It also supports the existing Dark Skies Designated areas in West Penwith and Bodmin Moor.
“We won’t be compromising on safety as where risk assessments have shown that streetlights are still beneficial, they will be kept on, or will be dimmed once the new LED bulbs are fitted.”
Martyn Alvey, portfolio holder for climate change said: “As a council we are committed to working towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
“Our vast network of streetlights currently contributes to around 30% of the council’s total carbon emissions. Carbon reduction is a primary driver for taking action to replace streetlights and turn them off or dim them when appropriate. We are acting to cut carbon emissions, reduce energy use, reduce light pollution to help nature recovery, as well as help offset the increase in energy prices, as we take another step towards reaching our carbon neutral goal.”
Safety is at the forefront in any decision about switching off streetlights. Once the programme to roll out new LED bulbs reaches those areas where risk assessments have shown that streetlights are still beneficial, the lights will be dimmed between midnight and 5am so there is lighting but light pollution is reduced. Until then, streetlights will remain on between midnight and 5am in locations such as
- Traffic signal junctions, pedestrian crossings, subways, some roundabouts and junctions
- Parts of town centres and footpaths that are still relatively busy during the night
- On certain roads where there is traffic calming and speed humps
- Areas where there is CCTV or police surveillance equipment
- Entrances and exits to hospitals, police, ambulance and fire stations
Evidence from other local authorities that have already implemented similar night-time switch offs show that levels of crime and number of traffic accidents do not increase. However, risk assessments will continue to be carried out and data shared with local stakeholders so that any concerns and requests, including requests from parish and town councils for areas where they want to see streetlights switched off or turned back on again, are fully considered.
All Council-run streetlights in Cornwall are in the process of being replaced with energy saving LEDs as part of a programme to cut carbon emissions, as well as reduce electricity consumption. The new LED streetlights, which are a similar colour temperature to the previous lamps, will be remotely controlled and monitored. Using low power technology, the streetlights can be adapted to the needs of local areas, taking into account safety, as well as wildlife and nocturnal habitats and protecting the designated Dark Skies areas in Bodmin and West Penwith.