Residents of Sheffield will soon have the chance to share their views on a proposal to vary the street lighting levels across the city.

Changes in programming, together with the improved functionality of the LED street lighting system, has provided the council with an opportunity to tailor the lighting levels during less busy periods.

If approved, as part of the recently launched Climate Emergency plans, which encourages approaches in support of a lower carbon economy, greater resilience to climate change and cleaner growth, the proposals will be adopted city-wide and result in a 380 tonne reduction in Co2 emissions.

The change will also support the first priority of the 2018 Green City Strategy.

Importantly, the lighting levels will remain in line with the current British Standard Specification whilst providing adequate levels of lighting on the highway.

If implemented, the changes will enable the council to reduce light pollution and its negative effects on residents’ sleep patterns, certain nocturnal animals, plant species and people’s enjoyment of the night sky.

The dimming will be trialled in three areas of the city from Monday 19 August to Friday 13 September and will see lighting levels being reduced by up to an additional 14%. The areas selected for the pilot are Crosspool, Endcliffe and Meersbrook.

Households in the chosen areas will each receive a letter inviting them to attend an information session in their local library. Residents across the city will also be invited to take part in an online consultation on the proposals.

The views of those in the pilot areas will then be assessed alongside the views from respondents across the city.

Cabinet member for environment and street scene at Sheffield City Council, Councillor Lewis Dagnall said:

“We know that lighting levels will be of interest to most people in the city and, for that reason, we are inviting people to have their say on our proposals.

“As a council, we are committed to achieving the objectives set out in our Green City Strategy and take the necessary steps to becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050, in the midst of this current climate emergency.

“We fully recognise that the transition to a low carbon economy is not going to be easy, and there will be difficult decisions to make along the way, but, ultimately it’s about doing the right thing for people across our city and enhancing and protecting Sheffield’s environment for everyone to enjoy now and in the future.

“Thanks to the Streets Ahead investment, we are proud to have one of the best street lighting networks in the country, and our intention was always to take advantage of its ability to adjust lighting levels responsively to react to the changing levels of traffic and footfall.

“These proposals put us in a somewhat fortunate position where we can adjust our pioneering lighting system and still achieve good lighting levels, whilst maintaining safe highway conditions and above all, making valuable reductions in carbon, energy and cost.”

The proposals will see street lights switch on responsively at 80% instead of the current 84% before midnight and reduce from 54% to 40% at midnight until 6am, whilst still meeting the requirements of the current national Code of Practice.

South Yorkshire Police are aware of the proposal and the council will continue to work with them, and other stakeholders, to assess and evaluate impact on communities.

Emergency services will still be able to request an increase in lighting levels, in response to certain incidents, when required.

Sheffield has one of the most advanced street lighting systems in the UK, with the ability to vary lighting levels – even down to individual lighting columns.

As a result of the Streets Ahead investment, Sheffield now has a complete network of state-of-the-art white LED street lights. In the first five years of the programme, more than 66,000 new LED street lights were installed across the city; ensuring safer and more energy efficient light distribution.

A link to the briefing report and associated maps of the trial areas, can be found at: https://bit.ly/2M0D6ZJ

The city-wide consultation will open in coming weeks and, once live, will be available on the council’s website at: https://sheffield.citizenspace.com/