Barnard Castle dim lights plan backed but savings will be negligible (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Barnard Castle dim lights plan backed but savings will be negligible
TOWN councillors have backed plans to dim street lights late at night as part of a county-wide scheme to save energy and money.
However, with fewer than one per cent of the county's street lights, Barnard Castle's contribution to the savings will be negligible, members were told.
Durham County Council is currently consulting on proposals to introduce energy efficient lights which would be dimmed by 25 per cent between 10pm and midnight and by 50 per cent between midnight and 5am.
The county council is also proposing to remove lights from areas where it is deemed safe to do so and to take away the lighting from some traffic signs.
Barnard Castle Town Council's planning committee was told the measures were designed to reduce the county's carbon emissions by 7,500 tonnes a year and produce savings of £24m over 25 years.
Councillors were told that Barnard Castle has 686 street lights out of more than 41,000 across the county.
Councillor John Watson said he was surprised the county council had not looked at dimming the street lights at an earlier stage, describing the proposals as one of the most painless ways to make savings.
He also suggested this would be a good time for an overall review of street illumination with a view to improving the look of lighting columns in conservation areas.
However, Coun David Kinch said the county would only work with existing columns, not provide new ones.
While supporting the county council's proposals, members made a number of comments as part of their response to the consultation.
They wish to see a good standard of lighting maintained outside emergency services bases and have asked how the dimming system will be monitored and maintained.
They also said reflective traffic signs would need to be regularly cleaned if lights were to be removed.
Members also wished to be consulted over any proposals to remove street lights altogether.
Coun John Blissett asked whether there would be standby arrangements in case the system failed and members also queried whether dimming the lights would have any effect on the town's Christmas displays.
Members were also keen to know who to contact if and when any problems arise.
The street lighting proposals will also be discussed by Teesdale Action Partnership.
Full details are available at www.durham.gov.uk and anyone wishing to comment on the proposals must do so by September 26.
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