A dimmer future because of cuts

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STREET lighting could be rationed across Wigan to save council cash.

Council bosses are being urged to introduce a three-tiered system of illumination hours to slash the costs of the 40,000-plus bulbs which burn across the borough each evening.

The authority is currently facing a £1.5m annual electricity bill despite block buying cheaper power as part of a consortia of 25 local authorities.

In the budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the Coalition will introduce a new “carbon price floor” to pay for investment in new energy infracture which will double the authority’s Carbon Reduction Commitment tax in the next decade.

Ruling councillors are now being urged to approve a dynamic lighting system where levels of brightness will be changed according to the use of the area being lit.

Council Corporate Director Gillian Bishop said: “Clearly there is a balance to be struck between meeting our community’s needs for the continued operation and provision of street lighting and its inherent benefits, against the financial backcloth of severe budget cuts and the Government’s requirement to reduce carbon emissions.

“The three-tiered lighting approach will allow the council to provide lighting that is designed around specific site usage and configuration, that can be operated in a dynamic and flexible manner that will take advantage of modern technology.”

Tier One areas - those where diminished lighting may increase the risk to the public - will be operated with 100 per cent light output between the hours of dusk to dawn. These are likely to be around complex road junctions, controlled pedestrian crossing points and roads with significant night time, road traffic accident records.

Tier Two locations will have variable lighting for some of the dawn to dusk period.

Tier Three street lights - typically away from the adopted highway road network including off-road footpaths that link residential/industrial estates - will only be operated for a limited number of hours.