We know that we need to reduce the environmental impact of street lighting in Somerset.
Our street lighting reduction project aims to reduce the number of street lights we leave on during the hours of darkness, when vehicles and pedestrians are least likely to be present.
How will we do this?
We have consulted with a group of Parishes across Somerset to agree some test areas for the project, and will take the following approaches to reduce street lighting in Somerset:
- Part night lighting, which means switching off the lights in identified areas between 12 midnight and 5.30am
- Light dimming, which means that we reduce light levels in identified areas by 50 percent
- Converting lamps to LED, which provides more efficient direct lighting.
How will we fund this project?
We have won external funding from the South West Improvement and Efficiency Partnership, which will fund the conversion of street lamps to part night operation in selected parishes.
This project will help us to: 1. Reduce our carbon footprint
The Council operates 48,000 street lamps and 6,000 illuminated bollards and signs. This equates to approximately 12,000 tonnes of CO2.
2. Reduce light pollution
Satellite data indicates that light pollution increased by 20% in Somerset between 1993 and 2000, showing that light pollution is on the rise. The impacts of light pollution in addition to wasting energy include:
- Harming people’s quality of life. For example, sleep disturbance when the light shines into homes;
- Interference with our view of the night sky
- Impacts on the ecology and wildlife of an area, affecting the behavioural patterns of plants and animals
Street lighting in the following areas will not be affected by part night lighting:
- Most main traffic routes (although some lights may be dimmed)
- Location with a significant night-time road traffic accident record
- Areas with above average record of crime
- Areas provided with CCTV local authority/ police surveillance equipment
- Areas with 24 hr operational emergency services sites including hospitals
- Formal pedestrian crossings, subways, and enclosed footpaths and alleyways where one end links to a street that is lit all night
- Where there are potential hazards on the highway (roundabouts, central carriageway islands, chicanes, speed humps)
Under what circumstances will full time night lighting be reinstated?
We will monitor the effects of part-night lighting and review whether any lights may need to be switched back to full time lighting at night. The most likely reasons for changing lights will be:
- If the police consider there is an unacceptable increase in crime or anti-social activity in the area over a 6 month period after the change and part night lighting is identified as the cause;
- If there is an unacceptable increase in traffic incidents after the change and part night lighting is identified as the cause;
Monitoring will continue after this period to ensure that any problems are identified and appropriate action is taken.
Full-time night lighting will not be re-instated in the following cases:
- Fear if increased crime
- To provide increased lighting to aid recreational or social activities