Plans to replace and dim street lighting in County Durham would mean a significant cut in carbon emissions, councillors will hear next week.
Durham County Council is also proposing to replace outdated pedestrian and traffic signals and remove lighting where it is not deemed necessary as part of a project to reduce energy consumption.
Street lights, illuminated signs, bollards, traffic signals and pedestrian crossings currently account for 18 per cent of the council’s carbon emissions.
The proposed changes would mean a 73 per cent reduction in emissions from the equipment affected and a seven per cent reduction in overall council emissions – a significant boost to the authority’s efforts for an overall reduction of 40 per cent by 2015.
They would also result in net savings of £24 million over the next 25 years, rising to £55 million when inflation is taken into account.
Cllr Bob Young, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for strategic environment, said: “These proposed measures will not only mean a major reduction in our carbon emissions, they will also save us money in the long-term and reduce the impact of increases in energy costs.
“Dimming street lights should have little impact on motorists and pedestrians as the difference will hardly be visible.”
The council is proposing to dim lights by 25 per cent between 10pm and midnight and by 50 per cent between midnight and 5am. This amount of dimming is not generally perceptible to the human eye and dimming of 25 per cent has been in operation on the A167 for a number of years.
The plans also include updating more than 41,000 street lights, 2,991 traffic signals and dozens of other items to cut energy consumption, replacing illuminated signs with non-lit ones and removing some equipment which is deemed unnecessary.
Members of Durham County Council’s Cabinet will discuss the proposals when they meet next week (Wednesday 12th Dec) at County Hall.