Town could see streetlights switched off

PUBLISHED: 13:00 18 September 2012 | UPDATED: 16:35 18 September 2012

Copyright Archant Ltd

A SOMERSET town could see lights switched off at night as part of a three-year trial to save money across the district.

Axbridge is one of 14 parishes which Somerset County Council says has expressed an interest in the scheme and will now be consulted about having its lights turned off between midnight and 5.30am.

Across the district, some lights will be removed, some dimmed and some turned off after dark during the three-year trial to reduce the amount of energy used.

The A38 in West Huntspill has also been selected as one of eight major roads across the district to have its lights dimmed.

The first three years of the plan are expected to save the council £123,000 in energy costs and £8,300 in carbon tax payments, with continued annual savings for the lighting budget.

Other towns and villages will be able to join the trial in future, with £750,000 set aside to pay for changes.

In villages with only one or two streetlamps the option to remove them will be given when they are next due to be replaced. Due to safety concerns, no A or B roads will have their lights switched off, although some will be dimmed to half their usual brightness.

Half a million pounds of funding has come from the Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnership, with £200,000 from Somerset County Council’s lighting budget and £75,000 from a Government grant.

Cabinet Member Harvey Siggs said: “The advances in lighting technology and the funding available are making this a worthwhile exercise in improving Somerset’s night skies and reducing the council’s energy costs.

“There will be consultation everywhere it is proposed to turn off streetlamps, and I’m sure people in Somerset will welcome the choice of how their streets are lit, and the opportunity to contribute to cash savings and darker skies.”

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