Street lights are a vital part of any city’s infrastructure, however they consume a significant amount of energy and contribute to light pollution, which blots out the stars. Now the UK government has announced plans to dim lights on thousands of miles of A-class roads in order to save money, conserve energy, and reduce the country’s CO2 output.

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The plan has been issued to the Highway Agency, who have been told by the Government to “minimize obtrusive light” by either switching off lamps completely at certain times or decreasing their intensity. More than 80 miles of the motorway network have already had their lights turned off in the UK, but the agency has been tasked with finding another 2,500 miles of main roads where this can also be applied.

Local transport minister Norman Baker has backed the plan, saying to The Telegraph: “It is right that lighting authorities consider, in the interests of cost-saving and the environment, whether lighting can be sensibly dimmed or turned off, consistent with proper safety assessments.”

UK drivers also need not worry that they will no longer be able to see where they are going – Nigel Parry of the Institution of Lighting Professionals says that technology has now enabled lights to be controlled individually and remotely. “The idea is that when traffic is busy, such as during the morning and evening rush hour, you have them at their brightest,” he said. “When the traffic disappears you can dim them. You can maintain safety and use half as much energy.”

It makes sense – why have lights on when no-one is using them? You wouldn’t do it at home. Hopefully the plan will save the UK millions of pounds on its energy bill, reduce CO2 emissions, and diminish light pollution so that people in cities will be able to see the night sky more clearly.

+ Highway Agency

Via The Telegraph

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