More streets to be left in the dark

DRIVERS will have to sharpen up their eyesight as thousands more street lights are set to be turned off as part of North Somerset Council’s cash slashing initiative.

Unitary authority bosses must make more than �47.3million savings over the next four years, and one way to save cash involves switching off up to 18,000 street lights across the district in three phases.

Lights in North Somerset, such as those along the A370, B3130 and many in Clevedon, Portishead, Nailsea, Backwell, Tickenham, Flax Bourton, Wraxall, Portbury, Weston-in-Gordano, Yatton, Congresbury, Cleeve and Claverham, were fitted with the new energy efficient lights and switched off between midnight and 5am as part of phase one.

The initial trial, involving 962 lights, ended this summer and is now a permanent fixture, while plans for phase two, which involve a further 7,500 lights, are due to be discussed by council bosses next month.

A third phase is expected to follow in 2013.

A spokesman from the council said: “Complaints for phase one have been relatively minimal and have mainly come from shift workers using the road during switch off hours - with no reported increase in road traffic incidents.

“A part-night monitor has been set up to record any complaints, road traffic incidents, increased crime or equality impacts that may happen during a 12-month review period. This means we can identify any fine tuning that may be needed for the reinstating of any individual street lights.”

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The target is to reduce the council’s unmetered energy budget by �209,000 over the next two years.

The street light project could also see a reduction in carbon emissions by 25 per cent.