Street lighting to be dimmed to save cash

STREET lights around the Knutsford area are set to be dimmed in a move that council bosses believe will help the environment and save cash.

As part of efforts to slash carbon emissions, cut down on light pollution, save money and make Cheshire East Council a cleaner and greener place to live, the council is moving forward with changes to street lighting.

The authority has written to all town and parish councils – including Knutsford – to inform them on how the changes could affect their area.

A new three-pronged approach is being introduced. All households will find themselves in one of the following categories: l Switching off – lights will be permanently switched off, with a view to removal in the future. This will only be implemented on routes between towns with a small number of homes.

l Dimming – lights will operate at 60 per cent of their normal strength to achieve savings while still providing lighting. This will be used where routes pass through local communities or where safety issues mean it isn’t suitable to switch lighting off.

l Part-night lighting – a process where lights automatically turn off at midnight and come back on between 5.30am and 6.30am. This will mainly be used in housing estates.

The changes will be introduced over the next few weeks.

The lights which will be turned off will mainly be on A or B roads between towns and villages, including part of the A50 Toft Road.

Where there are a significant number of homes on a route, then lights will remain switched on, and may form part of the dimming or part-night exercises.

On stretches of road where the lights will be switched off, there will be clear signs warning people that the lights are not in use.

Clr Rod Menlove, cabinet member in charge of environmental services, said: “These changes are part of our ongoing drive to reduce our energy consumption across the borough.

“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 no evidence that switching off street lights on stretches of roads has a detrimental effect on road safety and has improved road safety in many areas. “ Cheshire East Highways has consulted with Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service regarding the proposals. Both organisations have made no adverse comments regarding the scheme.

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