Street lights switched off at night in savings drive

Streets will be shrouded in darkness from Monday when over 70 per cent of Waveney's street lights begin to be turned off.

The move by Suffolk County Council will see 899 out of 1,175 street lamps in Beccles switched off from midnight to 5.30am.

Council chiefs hope the plans, which are being rolled out across the county, will help reduce the council's carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent by 2025.

The scheme which is costing �2.5 million is expected to save �750,000 a year.

In Bungay the switch off of 67 per cent of the town's lights between midnight and 5.30am will begin on January 23.

And 509 out of Halesworth's 700 street lights will be turned off from January 2.

Amid fears over crime and road safety, council chiefs claimed streets would be made safer by the move which aims to save 4,000 tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions.

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A trial in Essex showed the number of anti-social complaints had fallen, according to Suffolk county councillor Guy McGregor.

He said: 'Fears of crime are understandable but unfounded.

'The evidence does not support the contention.'

Suffolk is the first council in the country to introduce the scheme county-wide.

'We are leading on it,' said councillor McGregor. 'Everyone is watching what we are doing here.'

Lights were turned off in Lowestoft in July.

The lighting system will give the council more control over the lights and flag up when one breaks.

They will have adjustable settings, meaning that they can be altered for different days of the week, to take account of British summer time, or set street lights to stay on for longer for events at Christmas or New Year.

Street lighting will be given priority around level crossings and pedestrian crossings.

Priority will also be given to major junctions, areas with CCTV, high security businesses, areas of high night-time pedestrian use and leisure centres.

•For more information on the switch off visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/streetlighting

What do you think of the plans? Write to us at bbjletters@archant.co.uk

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