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Street light plan may leave Suffolk in the dark

PUBLISHED: 12:13 25 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:23 06 July 2010

Thousands of street lights across Suffolk may be turned off in a bid to save money and cut carbon emissions, it has emerged.

Suffolk County Council is considering plans to reduce the number of lights by up to 50pc as it strives to become one of the greenest counties in the UK.

Thousands of street lights across Suffolk may be turned off in a bid to save money and cut carbon emissions, it has emerged.

Suffolk County Council is considering plans to reduce the number of lights by up to 50pc as it strives to become one of the greenest counties in the UK.

Power from its 54,000 street lights costs the county council an estimated £450,000 each year - a quarter of its total energy budget.

Officials from the county council are planning a major overhaul of its network to cut its electricity bill by 40pc and replace the remaining lights with energy-saving bulbs.

It comes after the authority's neighbours at Norfolk County Council revealed plans last month to switch off street lights in quiet residential streets to save money.

Suffolk's roads and transport scrutiny committee has given the go-ahead for a consultation to take place with various groups including the police, district councils and environmental campaigners.

Mark Bee, chairman of the committee, said there was evidence to suggest that crime and antisocial behaviour could fall under the scheme.

“We have got to look at this for two reasons - for the financial saving and for the environmental impact. Lighting whole stretches of roads does not necessarily make them safer. Other parts of the country have shown that crime has decreased.”

“Aspects of antisocial behaviour can occur where there is light. Clearly public safety is important, but it may be that street lighting is giving a false sense of security,” he said.

Mr Bee said the current day glow bulbs could be replaced with low-intensity white lights and some may also be timed to go off for periods overnight.

Suffolk County Council maintains 54,000 of its own street lights, 8,800 lighted signs and bollards, plus 11,300 lights under contract from other organisations at a cost of £2.4m a year.


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