Hertfordshire County Council has come under fire from concerned residents over a policy where streetlights are turned off after midnight in order to save energy. The scheme, which was introduced in 2010, and sees lights being turned off entirely between 12am and 6am, has been reported to cut carbon emissions and the council’s energy bill, but is receiving backlash from worried parents and those who work nights.
Many residents are expressing concern that the lights are already switched off before the last trains back from London arrives into local stations, those who work nights are worried about their nightly commute, and many are worried about people walking back from pubs and evenings out in the darkness.
Steven Ellwood, Managing Director of BLT Direct, one of the UK's premier light bulb suppliers for both domestic and commercial purposes, says, “Whilst Hertfordshire County Council’s commitment to reducing their emissions and bills is admirable, many members of the public feel they would still like to have street lights on in the dead of night. This can be achieved without soaring bills and huge emissions simple by installing high-quality energy-saving light bulbs. These provide excellent illumination without compromising on ‘green’ credentials, and would surely satisfy both camps in this lighting feud.”
The project in Hertfordshire cost around £3.75m simply to just fit the lights with the necessary timers to be switched off at the correct times. It is estimated that it will take around three years for the council to recoup that money, and many believe that installing energy-saving light bulbs would have been a better investment of the money.
Many councils are already cottoning on to the energy-saving possibilities of using such light bulbs in public areas. Bath and North East Somerset Council were among the first councils to pioneer an energy-saving scheme with LED light bulbs being used for public lighting, and areas including Salford, Bromley and Gloucestershire are all seeing how energy-saving lighting solutions can save them money and provide excellent illumination for residents.
The vast majority of these schemes have been a resounding success, and more councils are following suit every year. Bromley invested £8.5m in their scheme, which will save millions over the next few decades, and will need much less tinkering and replacement than the timers on the bulbs in Hertfordshire. Salford’s installation is estimated to save around £20m for the council over the estimated 20-year life span of their energy-saving light bulbs. The effectiveness of this approach is being lauded as a solution for those upset about the choices being made in Hertfordshire, and the council are sure to consider this answer if backlash continues.
Created by Steve Ellwood on 10th October, 2013
Qualified as an Electrician, founder of BLT Direct