Streets across Ripon, Boroughbridge and Masham will be plunged into darkness at night as a controversial blackout scheme looks set to be rolled out across the district.
The money-saving measure, which would see lights switched off from midnight to 5am, sparked a storm of controversy when it was first introduced to urban Harrogate last year amid fears it would prompt a rise in crime.
But now, as new crime and complaint figures emerge to dispel these concerns, North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) has revealed it is to extend the scheme across Ripon and nearby towns and villages in the next financial year.
“We will be working with the local community and council to identify anything we may have missed,” said Coun Gareth Dadd, the county council’s executive member for highways and planning services, confirming the roll-out.
“It’s been a success in Harrogate. Crime hasn’t increased – it’s actually gone down. On reflection, residents’ concerns, which were perfectly reasonable, have simply not come to fruition.”
North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) is to start work with local parish and town councils in the next financial year, the authority has confirmed, asking for feedback and local input.
The scheme was first mooted in 2012, aiming to cut NYCC’s annual £1.7m lighting bill by £400,000 a year and carbon emissions by 3,200 tonnes. Overall in Harrogate and Knaresborough, 6,000 street light columns have now been fitted with a sensor, costing around £12.
Coun Dadd said: “We have had one or two technical issues, where the cells didn’t adjust as quickly to British Summer Time as quickly as we would have liked. But it’s contributing to county-wide savings of £400,000.”
Among the towns, villages and cities to be reviewed in coming months are Ripon, Masham, Markington, Bishop Monkton, Boroughbridge, Minskip, Sawley, Kirkby Malzeard, North Stainley, Rainton and Dishforth.
A map of street lights affected by the proposals can be viewed at www.northyorks.gov.uk/slerp