Lights switched off to save money

Up to 4,600 lights in residential areas and on roads in south Wales are to be switched off as part of a 'green' scheme to save money and energy, a council has announced.

Cabinet members at Torfaen Council have agreed to install timer switches on 35% of street lights, which could save up to £450,000 a year. However, main junctions and roundabouts will still be illuminated.

Approval was given to 4,140 lights being turned off between midnight and 5.30am in residential areas from next spring, and 1,800 street lights along A and B roads will be also decommissioned.

The council says it will be necessary to begin decommissioning on the main A and B roads in January in order to meet the financial savings.

The 13,344 street lights in the borough cost £400,000 to power every year, and with rising energy costs this is estimated to soar to £900,000.

Councillors said that they did not want to make taxpayers pay the spiralling lighting costs.

A similar scheme in mid Wales is already under way, with thousands of street lights switched off in Powys in a bid to save the £225,000 a year.

The controversial policy has seen 66% of the 14,000 street lights turned off over the last 10 weeks.

Copyright © Press Association 2008