It’s that time of year when towns across Shropshire are holding their annual Christmas light switch on ceremonies.
Work to begin on converting 70% of Shropshire’s street lights to part-night lighting
Plans by Shropshire Council to save energy and cut down on light pollution by upgrading street lights so they can switch themselves off in the middle of the night is set to begin next month.
Shropshire Council approved proposals to convert 70% of its street lights to â€œpart-night lightingâ€ in September 2011, meaning they are lit until midnight and then switch themselves off until 5.30am.
Not every light will be affected, and more than 6,000 lights will remain in dusk to dawn operation. The police, and parish and town council representatives, worked together on a risk assessment to decide which lights should be included in the scheme.
The first lights to be converted will be in the areas to the south of Shrewsbury in mid-June, followed by southern Shropshire in July, August and September, and Shrewsbury later in the year. Other areas of Shrewsbury and Oswestry will then follow during 2013-14, with North Shropshire and Bridgnorth areas planned for 2014-15.
Not all lights will be converted, because some are maintained by parish/town councils and others are exempt from the scheme because they are close to a busy road junction, near sheltered housing or other safety reasons. An interactive map is on the councilâ€™s website which will allow people to enter their postcode and see what lights near them will be changing.
Councillor Simon Jones, Shropshire Council Cabinet member with responsibility for street lighting, said:
â€œWe have been discussing these proposals and preparing the plans for a long time now, and I hope people understand the benefits that these changes will have. We will reduce carbon emissions, save energy costs, cut down on light pollution and help stargazers see the night sky.
â€œLots of other areas are already doing this, such as Devon, Powys and Leicestershire, and we have been talking to them about their experiences to make sure we get it right in Shropshire. We have had detailed discussions with the emergency services and parish and town council representatives about which lights are included in the scheme, and itâ€™s important to remember that every street light will still be on until midnight. A lot of work has gone into the exemption criteria, so things like dangerous road junctions are not included and other factors have being taken into consideration.â€
A West Mercia Police spokesperson added:
â€œA multi-agency group has been involved in these plans from the outset, and local policing teams will of course be monitoring the effects of these changes closely. However, it should be noted that the evidence from other parts of the country is that crime has actually decreased where lights have been converted to part-night lighting.â€
Shrewsbury has welcomed the arrival of Acoustic Boutique, the new home of the sound and music specialists.
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