Energy saving for Devon's street lights

Plans to reduce Devon's street lighting power bill and curb pollution across the county will take a step forward in coming months.

Plans to reduce Devon's street lighting power bill and curb pollution across the county will take a step forward in coming months.

The new policy to cut carbon and save money will reduce the energy use of almost 9,000 street lights over the next six months.

Devon County Council is currently responsible for nearly 75,000 street lights, costing �2.2 million in electricity and producing nearly 20,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.

The changes form part of the council's carbon reduction and management strategy, and will contribute to their goal to make Devon greener as well as helping to tackle the cost of rising energy bills.

Carbon emissions reduction measures for street lighting now being put into action across Devon include:

* Phased part-night lighting in residential areas. This will mean that the hours some streetlights are on will be changed from all-night long to lighting between dusk and 12:30am and again from 5:30am until dawn.

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* Main road lighting and areas of high night-time activity, such as town centres, will remain lit all night, but consideration will be given to dimming lighting where possible.

It is expected that energy consumption and cost and carbon emission will be reduced by a third by the end of the programme.

The conversion of lighting across the county from all-night to part-night operations will be carried out over a five year period, and will initially be included as part of planned maintenance and upgrades to keep costs to a minimum. As the programme rolls out the county council are continuing to work with Devon and Cornwall Police to ensure that consideration of crime, disorder and road safety in residential areas are taken into account at every stage.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highways and transportation said:

"Devon has seen a 1 degree Celsius temperature rise in recent years, and a two degree rise is now inevitable. It is essential that we act now to reduce our emissions, and in turn reduce the amount of money we spend on our street lighting energy consumption.

"Street lighting accounts for 30 per cent of Devon County Council's annual CO2 emissions which total almost 62,000 tonnes. To buy the pollution permits needed in 2010 for street lighting alone will cost Devon County Council over �200,000 on top of the annual energy cost for street lighting of �2.2 million.

"It is estimated that the part-night lighting programme could save up to 4,000 tonnes of CO2 and reduced our present energy bill by �45,000. The money can be re-invested in further measures to reduce our carbon footprint and help prevent dangerous climate change.

"As well as the obvious benefits of saving carbon and money, this new policy will also reduce light pollution or 'sky glow' will be significantly reduced allowing for better viewing of the stars and the moon in the night sky."

Since the policy was initiated last year, Shillingford St George and Beer have had their lighting converted to part-night operation at their own request. Following consultation with local county councillors and parish and town councils, agreement has been reached for schemes to convert street lighting to part-night operation in Bridford, Christow, Manaton, Chudleigh, Diptford, Spreyton, Belstone, Drewsteignton, Copplestone, Malborough, Salcombe, Abbotsham, Parkham, Feniton, Clyst Honiton, Whimple, East Allington, Kingsbridge and Shobrooke.