Big switch-off to hit Dales villages

COuncil chiefs will be switching the lights off in some villages surrounding Matlock from this summer.

Of the seven locations Derbyshire County Council has selected to be part of the first phase of its big switch-off, six of them are in the Matlock area.

From July, selected street lights in Ashover, Brassington, Dethick, Lea and Holloway, Great Longstone, Little Longstone and Stanton in Peak will be shut off between midnight and 5.30am.

The scheme will then be rolled out to Youlgrave, Matlock Bath, Rowsley, Baslow, Carsington and Hopton in September.

The council made the decision in a bid to save both taxpayers’ money and the environment.

Councillor Simon Spencer, deputy leader and cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We need to take action to cut carbon and help reduce the effects of global warming.

“We’re committed to cutting our carbon emissions by 25 per cent by 2014/15 and street lighting is one of the main offenders.

“We also need to save £90million over the next four years and with rising energy prices we need to look at ways of doing things differently.

“We won’t switch off all street lights but as most people are in bed between midnight and 5.30am we believe some lighting isn’t needed.”

Over the next four years, the council expects to turn off around 40,000 of its 89,000 street lights between midnight and 5.30am and switch off a further 900 permanently.

It is estimated the move will save 2,000 tonnes of carbon every year, more than ten per cent of the total produced by Derbyshire’s street lights and the equivalent of taking 625 cars off the road.

It is also hoped the switch-off will save more than £400,000 a year on energy bills.

Last year the authority spent around £5.5million on lighting and maintaining street lights with £2.7million being spent on electricity, a figure which is expected to increase to £2.9million this year.

The council wants to avoid further charges of up to £220,000 per year from the Government for carbon emissions.

Detailed assessments will be carried out in each area to decide which lights could be switched off and which should remain on.

Plans will be available to view in each community in venues such as libraries, shops or schools.

Further information is available by visiting www.derbyshire.gov.uk/streetlights.

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