Street lights switch off later this month

BRIGHT IDEA?: Street lights in Mirfield could be switched off between midnight and 5am.
BRIGHT IDEA?: Street lights in Mirfield could be switched off between midnight and 5am.

STREET LIGHTS will be switched off in the early hours of the morning by Kirklees Council.

The council is beginning a trial later this month that will see around 780 lights across North Kirklees switched off between midnight and 5am.

Ward councillors have been sent lists of lights that could be affected so that they can raise any concerns or suggest alternatives.

Coun Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) said: “If lights were not needed in the first place I doubt they would have been put in.

“The council’s cabinet has been told by government to make savings and they have chosen to make savings with street lights.

“They are wanting to share the blame over the whole council by saying to councillors, ‘If you don’t like this, you sacrifice something else’.

“If they want us to make the decisions, we should be in cabinet.”

According to the letter sent to councillors, switching off each light for five hours saves Kirklees 40 per cent of its running costs.

In total, the council plans to switch off 2,000 street lights for part of the night – less than four per cent of the 51,000 lights Kirklees in responsible for.

In drawing up their plans, council officers have avoided switching off lights in certain areas, including:

l Busy traffic routes;

l Roads with traffic calming measures or other potential hazards;

l Roads where the number of night-time casualties is above average;

l Areas with CCTV equipment installed;

l Areas where large numbers of vulnerable people live or where there is a lot of sheltered housing;

l Areas where large numbers of students live.

When the scheme was first proposed last year, Kirklees said the energy to run street lights was costing £1.8m a year, which was 48 per cent of the street lighting maintenance budget.

Unless the council cuts the amount of energy it uses for street lights, that cost will rise to £2.9m, or 90 per cent of the street lighting maintenance budget by 2015.

The trial due to start next month is expected to save around £20,000 in energy costs and £10,000 in maintenance costs each year.

Writing on Facebook, James Auty said: “Great idea. The less energy we consume the better all round. Clearly Black spots and Unsafe areas should have lighting tho.”

But Lisa Jane Coppack said: “Kirklees will save money on energy but gonna cost the Police as they’ll be bloomin busy.”

Meanwhile, Jason Bowness suggested: “Street lights with motion sensors maybe a better idea!”

Visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/partnight.