Plans to save streetlights after Exeposé and guild campaign

Devon County Council is initiating consultation on street lighting in student living areas of the city, following plans to cut costs and carbon emissions associated with late night street lighting. The Council is inviting local county councillors, Exeter city councillors and the Police to provide their views on the initial proposals.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “This is the start of the consultation on streetlighting in Exeter and we’re keen to gather the views of stakeholders and residents in helping us draw up the final plans. We are also aiming to develop a network of busy “walking home routes” which will remain lit all night. We have already gained some useful input from the University of Exeter Students’ Guild following their presentation to the Exeter Board last November.

The campaign from Exeposé and the Students' Guild has recieved large support from Exeter students
The campaign from Exeposé and the Students’ Guild has recieved large support from Exeter students

The proposed final plans, which will be drawn up over the coming months are for some street lights in residential areas to be switched off between about 12:30am and 5:30am, before coming on again, until dawn. The St. James and St. Luke’s areas, inhabited predominantly by students, are now proposed as part of the protected areas that will remain lit, including popular routes home throughout the city.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Exeter, stated: “The input from local councillors, Police and the Students’ Guild will give us a solid starting point on which to consult further, so that we can produce a scheme in which we will all have been able to play a part.”

Since January 2010, over 35,000 streetlights across Devon have been converted to part night lighting. This has already saved around 4,000 tonnes of CO2 and approximately £1.2 million from the Council’s electricity bill. This has been contested by a campaign from The University’s Students’ Guild and Exeposé, which has had a large following of support from students.

Devon County Council is responsible for nearly 77,000 street lights, costing £2.2million in electricity and producing nearly 20,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. The switching off of the streetlights at specific times of the night is part of a wider package of carbon saving measures, which also includes night dimming and the use of low energy equipment and LED technology.

Grace Hopper, VP Participation and Campuses, said: “The discussions that the Students’ Guild has had with Devon County Council have been very constructive in recent months, leading to the much-changed starting point for proposals that we have seen today. Throughout this process, we have recognised the County Council need to cut carbon emissions and find financial savings; but we don’t feel these should be offered up at the price of community safety and the resulting wider costs to the public purse. ”

She added: “The overwhelming support our campaign has received from students and resident groups; as well as local Police officers, County & City Councillors, Ben Bradshaw MP and national safety agencies demonstrates the depth of feeling on the matter. We are pleased the new drawings we have been shown are reflective of these concerns.”

Exhibitions on the new plans are likely to be held in July. Dates and locations will be confirmed in due course on the County Council website.

Read the original post on Exeposé Online

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Author: Louis Doré

Freelance Journalist studying at City University, London on MA Newspaper Journalism.

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