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By Ian Dipple Thursday 20 March 2014 Updated: 21/03 08:32
LARGE swathes of Redditch are set to be plunged into darkness during the early hours of the morning as the county council rolls out a major switch off of street lighting.
The borough is one of the first areas to be included in the energy saving scheme which will see two out of three lights across the borough switched off between midnight and 6am.
Redditch has been divided into ten delivery zones with the first batch of lights set to go out in April, followed by one zone every month until January 2015. The first zone includes Batchley, Brockhill, Enfield, parts of Southcrest and the town centre.
Information on the scheme is available in Redditch Library and people are being urged to contact the council through its website if they feel a light is being switched off which should not be.
Council chiefs say the scheme will save taxpayers £500,000 on the authority’s annual £2.4million energy bill and also help cut carbon emissions. But they stress lights around major traffic routes, on junctions and bends will not be included.
A trial scheme carried out in Droitwich showed turning lights off did not have an impact on crime levels or road safety and raised few concerns from the public.
But when quizzed by concerned residents at a recent Redditch Forum meeting, Redditch District Inspector Ian Joseph, from West Mercia Police, said they would not know what the impact would be until the lights were turned off.
“The sorts of offences you might be referring to such as burglaries or vehicle crimes have gone down again. Clearly if there is a change in that we will get involved and put resources in or talk to the county council.”
Coun John Smith OBE, responsible for highways on the council, added: “Like residents and businesses, the county council wants to minimise its energy bills and reduce its carbon emissions.
“We understand this issue is important, which is why, following a trial period in Droitwich, we’re looking to move things forward in a flexible way. We also recognise residents are best placed to advise us on which lights should be kept on.”
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