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Councillors Urged To Identify Street Lighting Pilot

21st September 2010

In a bid to reduce energy costs, Highland Councillors are being invited to consult with their local communities to identify appropriate areas for trialling energy reduction options for street lighting.

They are also being asked to support development guidelines that street lighting is only required in new residential areas with more than 15 properties.

As roads authority, the Council has a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure that street furniture, bus shelters, traffic calming, bollards etc, are visible and do not represent a danger to the public. The Council also has a responsibility to maintain the street lighting equipment in a safe condition where it has been provided.

There are currently approximately 48,000 lighting columns maintained by the
Council's lighting section. The annual cost of the electricity for street lighting and illuminated street furniture for 2010/11 is estimated at 1.775million. This compares with 1.842 million in 2009/10. Electricity costs for street lighting fluctuate on a similar basis to domestic supplies.

The electricity for street lighting is purchased through a national procurement
contract, where-by un-metered electricity is purchased on behalf of all the Local Authorities in Scotland.

The results of a recent budget consultation highlighted a strong preference for turning off every second light, followed by turning off some street lights between 12 midnight and 6 am, and dimming street lights between 12 midnight and 6 am. There is very little support for turning off all street lights between 12 midnight and 6 am, and in reality this could not happen due to the need to provide lighting in areas with CCTV.

In order to fully assess the impact of the options, the Council proposes to
carry out trials to assess the reaction from the local community, and the level of savings achieved.

In a report to the TEC Services Committee, which meets on Thursday, Neil Gillies, Director of TEC Services, said: "Public safety is of primary concern, and it is proposed that a consultation is carried out with local communities and the Police to agree the most appropriate options in terms of reducing energy consumption. It is intended to identify a trial area in each Ward in order to provide information for both urban and rural communities. It may well be that different options are preferred for different communities. It is important that the trial areas are monitored to ensure that there is no increase in crime or road traffic accidents.

"Discussions will take place at Ward level to identify suitable areas to conduct the trials. This could either be a village or an area within a large town. The proposal will be reviewed and assessed with Police input, and a risk assessment will be undertaken from other safety perspectives before the individual trials commence. In order to make sufficient savings it will be important to include urban areas, with high lighting densities, in the trial areas."


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