A BLANKET night-time switch-off of street lighting to save cash will not happen in Staffordshire, county council bosses say.
But the authority will look into installing dimming equipment which could save £8 million over the next 16 years.
The announcement comes in the wake of news that many county councils across the country are switching the lights off to save money.
Staffordshire’s highways chief Mike Maryon has pledged not to do that but says the authority will work with any parish council that would like to reduce some of its lighting overnight, as long as the move is supported by the community.
A number of councils have already dimmed their lights and have reported successful trials with no rises in crime or antisocial behaviour.
The county council says research has revealed traffic on the majority of roads drops significantly after 6.30pm and dimming of lights would happen after that time.
The plans would see £3.67 million saved due a reduction in energy costs and £4.45 million on maintenance costs.
Councillor Maryon said the authority had reviewed its entire street lighting operation.
He said: “After examining the results of this study we have decided not to introduce a blanket night-time switch-off of street lighting but we will be working with communities, as part of the localism agenda and giving them the choice of what happens with street lighting in their area.
“We will, however, look to upgrade our columns by either fitting or retro-fitting special dimming technology which will save £8 million over the next 16 years.
The robust contract that the county council initially put in place in 2003 has allowed us to do this. We are now able to simply upgrade the electronics rather than having to invest in brand new equipment.
“In the past we have over-lit areas because the technology was not available for us to control the level of light. This created light pollution that was unnecessary. Dimming the lights to the right level will also have some excellent environmental side effects, par- ticularly for star gazers who should be able to see the night sky much more clearly.”
Since 2003 a total of 30,000 new street lights have been installed across Staffordshire. Under the plans, almost half of these would be retro-fitted with the specialist technology.
A further 27,000 street lights would be replaced before 2028 the majority of which would be upgraded.