Between 2009 and 2010, 97% of local authorities across the UK announced an increase in their annual carbon emissions. Not a trend that they want to continue as the whole of the UK is legally bound to achieve the target of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
This desire to reduce carbon emissions has in part led authorities to consider switching off street lights. In 2008, in order to assess the impact on the safety and security of pedestrians, drivers, and local residents, the council of South Gloucestershire started a program which saw 6,000 of the areas 29,500 streetlights turned off between midnight and five in the morning.
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Over the four years until 2012 no adverse effects were noted, and so the council has now decided to expand its program to include 20,000 streetlights, or 67% of all the lights in the borough, by October 2013.
The 33% of lights not included in the program are in located near roundabouts, emergency services, or in areas that are known to have a high rate of crime.
Other than the desire to reduce carbon emissions, one of the major benefits of this program is the reduction in financial expenditure. In 2012, several of the large power companies in the UK, such as, British Gas, Npower, and EDF Energy, increased their pries, causing council budgets to soar. It is estimated that turning off the 20,000 streetlights will save around £250,000 a year.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com