PROPOSALS to turn off county council-owned street lighting in Richmondshire are to be reviewed in a bid to save £400,000 and reduce carbon emissions.
Despite Richmondshire District Council holding its own consultation with parish and town councils about the future of lighting in areas under its control, North Yorkshire County Council is now asking residents to think about county-run lights.
The county council is consulting with local councillors, police and road safety experts and on Monday, April 28 will open the discussion up to members of the public.
The scheme could see up to 60 per cent of North Yorkshire’s street lights turned off between midnight and 5am, cutting around £400,000 from its annual £1.7m energy bill and carbon emissions by 3,200 tonnes.
County councillor Gareth Dadd said the consultation process would take into account the public’s concerns about safety and crime, but council could show that in many cases the concerns are not justified.
He said: “This is an excellent scheme which will benefit the council taxpayer through reductions in electricity costs and carbon tax.
“It has cross-party support on the county council and all councillors, emergency services and members of the public are being consulted.
“Where people do have concerns, we have evidence in place to show it is not justified, but we do listen.
“For example, in Scarborough, we did not know every nook and cranny and that’s why we spoke to residents, but the policy itself is not up for grabs.”
Richmondshire District Council has opted not to work alongside the county council in its street light scheme.
Leader of the district council Coun John Blackie said: “We are determined to demonstrate best practice for community engagement and involvement, rather than simply make decisions that have great impact on others without listening to what they have to say.
“If, for instance, we turn off the lights across the Upper Dales, a 325 square mile area would be cast into total darkness.
“Street lights are very important – they address the fear factor, give security and peace of mind.”
The county council has stressed that no lights will be switched off where road safety, crime or anti-social behaviour is an issue.
The scheme has already been rolled out in Harrogate, Hambleton, Knaresborough and Scarborough.
A leaflet explaining the proposals will be sent to all residents and further information is available at www.northyorks.gov.uk/streetlighting.