THE part-night street lighting reduction programme, which will save cash for the taxpayer and cut carbon emissions, is continuing to progress well, according to Worcestershire County Council.

Approximately 52,000 street lights and 8,000 illuminated road signs are managed by the council and, with energy costs rising significantly over the last few years, they cost around £2.4million each year to operate. In addition, street lighting accounts for almost 20 per cent of the authority's total CO2 emissions, which is currently taxed at £12 per tonne.

Following a successful trial between November 2012 and May 2013 in Droitwich, Cabinet agreed in February, 2014, to move forward with proposals that will save around £500,000 and see two-thirds of lights in mostly residential and industrial estates, which tend to be 30mph areas, switched off between midnight and 6am only.

Major traffic routes are exempt from proposals and locations with junctions or bends will remain fully switched on. Any lamps already upgraded to be more energy efficient are also not included.

The county council has worked with West Mercia Police to monitor crime rates and this will continue. To date, no negative impact has been recorded.

Work on equipping lamps with the necessary technology has been ongoing since April and 2,000 have so far been upgraded with the project complete in Droitwich, almost finished in Bewdley and around half-way through in Kidderminster and Redditch. The scheme will roll out in other parts of Worcestershire over the next 12 months.

To ensure residents are kept informed a dedicated section on the council's website includes interactive maps and a facility to post comments

Councillor John Smith OBE, county council cabinet member for highways, said: "The street-lighting project is progressing well and will continue around Worcestershire over the coming months to ensure lamps are fitted with the technology that allows us to reduce costs to the taxpayer and cut our carbon emissions.

"We've been clear throughout that simply adopting a 'one-size, fits all' approach wouldn't work. It's important for people to understand what we're doing. This programme is looking at a part-night switch off, between midnight and 6am only, of around two out of every three lights on mostly residential and industrial estates, which tend to have speed limits of 30mph.Those lights on major routes, on junctions or bends will remain on in full."