Bright idea to dim the street lights

STREET lights across Nailsea could be dimmed at night as part of an experiment to try and reduce the council's spiralling energy bills

STREET lights across Nailsea could be dimmed at night as part of an experiment to try and reduce the council's spiralling energy bills.North Somerset Council has revealed it is looking at trialling a new piece of hi-tech equipment which can be fitted to street lights retrospectively.The device, which contains a timer, allows the lights to be automatically dimmed at night.The equipment is being provided by an Italian company, and, if successful, could be used throughout the district.Nailsea Town Council clerk Ian Morrell said: "We have been informed that Nailsea has been identified as a place where this trial may take place as an engineer from the company lives in the town and can monitor them."I understand no lights will actually be turned off, but just dimmed at certain times of day when full street lighting is not needed."Full street lights can also be intrusive into people's homes."Essentially this will be an experiment to assess the impact of dimming the lights and how much energy it saves."The move comes at the same time as North Somerset Council revealed it is considering switching lights off at night in certain parts of the district to reduce its energy use.Council chiefs announced last year they were considering switching off the street lights in areas including Herluin Way in a bid to reduce the energy bill.But the news that street lighting in the town may be dimmed down has sparked a mixed reaction from town leaders.Nailsea Town Council chairman Marston Dufty said: "I think there is a popular misconception that burglars only go out in the dark, but that is not necessarily the case as most burglaries are committed during the day when people are out."What we need to ascertain first is what the lights are for and why they were put there, whether it be for road safety or crime prevention reasons."When I moved to Nailsea in 1972 the lights were turned off at midnight and that didn't seem to cause any problems."Statistically the case can probably be argued for and against dimming the lights during certain parts of the night."However, anything which reduces the amount of energy being used is worth considering."North Somerset Council spokesman Nick Yates said the device was being tested on street lights at Clevedon Road car park.Mr Yates added: "The device is inserted into the column and we will be monitoring the results."There is no cost to the council."* What do you think? Is it a good idea to dim the lights or can you foresee an increase in criminal activity? Write to us and let us know your views at Mailbox, North Somerset Times, 32 Waterloo Street, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, BS23 1LW. You can also e-mail your letters to

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