Street lights removed to cut carbon emissions


Cheshire East Council has confirmed that they have removed a number of street lights on one of the major routes into Wilmslow in order to reduce carbon emissions.

Several readers contacted regarding the lack of lighting on stretches of Altrincham Road, due to some lights not working as well as the removal of some lamp posts - particularly as you head up the hill after the Airport Inn hotel and further along on the stretch between Waters and the Honey Bee.

Rob Sawyer said "In spite of protests from CycleWilmslow and local running groups the lights were turned off on "energy-saving" grounds a few years ago. It looks like many of the light posts have now been completely removed. So my question to CEC would be - are they to be re-installed (with LEDs) along the whole length from the airport tunnels to Waters?"

I contacted Cheshire East Council for confirmation about the removal of some street lights on the A538 and whether the lamp posts will be reinstated.

A spokesman for Cheshire East Council, said: "We are aware that some of the lights are still out on this stretch of the A538. This was the result of a road traffic accident which damaged one of the lamp posts.

"The post has been replaced and this has lit some, but not all of the lights. We are working to resolve the remaining outages and expect to have all lights functioning properly by the end of the month.

"As part of a borough-wide initiative of carbon reduction, some lamp posts have been removed."

Altrincham Road


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Nick Jones
Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 1:59 pm
Another CEC Saving ?

I mean its not like its a bad road where there are frequent accidents is it ?? Oh... there are !
Anthony Evans
Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 2:06 pm
Amazing. Part of the borough wide carbon reduction is to switch off street lighting, putting lives at risk. At the same time they allow 15 years and more of peat extraction on Lindow Moss, releasing tonnes of carbon into the air, far outweighing any saving from switching off lights.
You couldn't make it up.
Julian Barlow
Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 3:38 pm
In another environmental initiative it is rumoured that CEC are planning to save water by throwing all human waste from an upstairs window. CEC- Progressively moving forward. To the stone age.
Graham Jackson
Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 6:42 pm
Oh come that the best CEC can do, it just insults everyone's intelligence.

A few lights on as you approach a monster carbon producing site, the airport - which Cheshire East is a minor shareholder, means nought.

Don't treat the public like cretins - just say your trying to save an easy bob or two where you can, wrapping it up like you care is pathetic tosh.
Kelly Moses
Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 7:08 pm
What a lame excuse! Frankly it's disgraceful that CEC even try to justify blatant cost cutting by claiming removal of some vital street lighting is part of a carbon reduction initiative.

I thought new LED lighting was super efficient and consumed 80% less electricity...

This is one of only two primary routes into Wilmslow, linking the town to a major motorway, so our Council decides to use this particular road as a trailblazer for its energy reduction policy...bravo!

Incidentally, CEC clearly has an issue with major routes into Wilmslow, as the second one (A34 bypass) has four totally or partially unlit roundabouts, from Total Fitness / M&S onwards. That is sure to improve safety on a 70mph dual carriageway, isn't it?
Anne Greenhalgh
Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 9:45 pm
I am nervous about the lack of light in Wilmslow, even when driving but can see why it is happening however when I pass shops at night, Waitrose in particular, the lights are blazing! Do they go off at midnight or slightly later? If not then the whole exercise is a nonsense!
Graham Peters
Thursday 17th November 2016 at 11:41 am
"Carbon Emissions" - what a lame excuse! Poor CEC - very poor service.
John Blake
Thursday 17th November 2016 at 12:00 pm
I'm forever telling my kids to turn the lights of in rooms to safe energy. well done Cheshire east for doing it on such a larger scale.
Raymond Walker
Thursday 17th November 2016 at 2:12 pm
East Cheshire Council are happy to spend money on replacement zonal LED lighting which is unnecessary. Some are continually burning during the day and cause a rise in Carbon Emissions. So here is a contradiction. The LED power rating is not given, but the suburban low pressure sodium vapour lamps are only 35W so how much saving is there really? One pays for new fittings and the labour of installation so the plan needs questioning.
Peter Evans
Thursday 17th November 2016 at 9:08 pm
Unbelievable - save buttons, while they waste money and energy all over the county, and manage to increase risk to safety of their citizens at the same time. There are far loads of places where they could save far more energy and money but they choice a place where the road really is quite dangerous unlit. And, as someone says, the irony that the road leads to the airport where energy waste is significant (often, I think, because the airport authorities have to follow stupid and unthought out regulations that authorities like CEC impose on them.
But don't worry, all these savings can be used to fund the exorbitant redundancy payments made due to the unbelievable contracts drawn up by incompetent (at best, or fraudulent at worst) staff.
John Blake - I assume that you are either trying to be ironic or you work for CEC...
Rick Andrews
Thursday 17th November 2016 at 10:33 pm
Short sighted and potentially dangerous decision. Can we see the safety assessment and cost review which justifies the decision to remove lamp posts. And is the same logic being applied to all roads in CEC. This is yet another example of random and ill informed management. Coupled with failure to maintain and clear footpaths (a legal obligation of the Highways department) shows that CEC has no control, no direction and no interest in the residents. Time for Trump.
Robert Langham
Friday 18th November 2016 at 3:44 pm
A538 - Altrincham Road - The removal of the street lighting on this major road makes no sense at all.
If you're not familiar with the road, due to the complete lack of ambient light at night it can now be very confusing as you drive down the hill and meet a bright headlight on your nearside from approaching cyclists on the cycleway. This is extremely dangerous as it has the potential to be temporarily blinding increasing risk of accidents.

Also on a carbon emission basis, just past The Honey Bee there is a small cul de sac with two houses on it with the (old) sodium street lights still on - all four of them!
Robert Langham
Friday 18th November 2016 at 3:51 pm
Lisa, from your report on 28th October the council spokesperson seemed to forget that posts had been removed.

Quote: Having contacted the Council about the situation we can now confirm that it will be rectified in the next couple of weeks and the lights will be back on.

A spokesman for Cheshire East Council, said: "The power supply to the street lights connecting two roundabouts on Altrincham Road in Wilmslow was recently damaged by a collision."

"We are working to repair this stretch of the A538 and expect this work to be completed within a fortnight.

"We thank the public for their patience and will have the new LED lights functioning normally as soon as possible."
John Gibbons
Saturday 19th November 2016 at 7:21 am
Well done Cheshire East. Difficult decision to make in times of massive cuts to local authority budgets. Such a contrast to Waters at the top of the hill that seems to be lit up like a Christmas tree 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Just shows the staggering difference between the way the private sector can operate and the way we expect local authorities to operate.
Oliver Romain
Saturday 19th November 2016 at 7:51 am
This should not be done on a busy hill. Headlights are not good enough at highlighting cyclists on steep hills as they can come into view too late.
Peter Evans
Saturday 19th November 2016 at 11:59 pm
Quick post script - if CEC were even remotely serious about "carbon saving" rather than risking their citizens lives for... I'm not quite sure what, then they could do better than having a real go at Barclays in the town centre - fully lit on Saturday evening (circa 10.30pm) - pointless and gratuitous energy wasting. If I was a bit smarter I'd share the photo I took to really expose this - let's call out such blatant stupidity... #CEClovesPhilipGreen :-(
Malcolm Elliott
Monday 21st November 2016 at 3:36 pm
Two lamps ... one in Links Road and the other around the corner in Church Road, Wilmslow.

They have (reportedly) never been off in years. CEC informed today 21/11/16.
no further comment !
Peter Evans
Tuesday 22nd November 2016 at 9:19 pm
Mr Gibbons - again, I hope some irony in your comment. Given the waste evident all over CEC, this was not only an easy "decision" but wrong on so many fronts: the road is dangerous, the waste in CEC operations are prolific (and these lights don't even register in the rounding figures)... if Waters is lite up light you say, then you're right let's names and shame (I did re Barclays on Grove St on Sat night - and have photo evidence). But that does NOT demonstrate the difference between public and private sector - with CEC their enormous waste is funded by our council tax (and if I could have a choice I would never buy from them) and their inadequate investment in valuable front line services; Waters have to sell products to fund their own "wastefulness", so if they can afford to waste so much energy (which I agree is a bad thing), at least they judge they can afford it...
Richard Slater
Wednesday 23rd November 2016 at 2:52 pm
The largest local office development landlord is probably the biggest culprit for leaving lights burning, so as they keep getting plans approved are CEC offsetting the carbon on these unwanted office blocks?
John Gibbons
Wednesday 23rd November 2016 at 3:56 pm
Peter. The biggest irony is central government removing funding from local authorities and people being surprised when services are then cut. As to waste, yes, if humans are involved there'll always be some, but could hardly be better illuminated by lights off all night for CEC and lights on all night at Waters.
Simon Worthington
Thursday 24th November 2016 at 9:32 am
Perhaps CEC could introduce a levy on commercial properties where lighting is left on outside working hours. Also a similar plan with regard to unused, locked carparks at weekends could free up some badly needed space on Saturdays which, strangely enough, is a busy day in Wilmslow.
Jon Armstrong
Thursday 24th November 2016 at 2:25 pm
I suspect Barclays lights are left on for security reasons. Possibly even a condition of their insurance.

And before we all jump on Waters, are we sure they don't operate 24 hours? For a large place and in the field they are in, it wouldn't be surprising if the place doesn't empty out at 5pm.

As for car parking... Have you ever had a car park in the town centre Simon? I used to work at an office in Wilmslow that had one. We had enough trouble keeping the general public out of it Monday to Friday, never mind if it was actually open to them at weekends. We regularly used to get people leaving the car in our car park and go to catch the train, presumably to London or the airport or somewhere, and they wouldn't come back for a week or sometimes more, all the time taking up a space the company has paid for, and meaning a member of staff or a customer couldn't park there. When we started locking the gates at night, someone actually came with bolt cutters and lo and behold the next morning it was half full of every Tom, Dick and Harry's car before anyone who was supposed to be parking there even arrived. If the public were actually allowed to use it some days, you would end up having to write off a percentage of your spaces for the rest of the week as well.
Rob Sawyer
Wednesday 14th December 2016 at 3:12 am
I have corresponded with Cheshire East Highways on this situation and well as contacting ward councillors. I paraphrase the responses received from CEC officers, below:

- The initial switch-off was on a trial basis (ostensibly to reduce carbon emissions but in one email it states that it was one of "a number of cost-saving initiatives delivered in recent years").

- CEC has reduced street lighting away from major junctions and on rural roads which are little used by pedestrians or cyclists.

- This trial programme was reviewed by CEC in 2015 (apparently accident data was looked at). As a result, 702 lanterns and columns were to be removed permanently as a result.

- No reviews are planned. Road safety is monitored across borough-wide on a "broader evidence led approach".

Having consulted CEC's street-light mapping on its website, it seems that approx. 9 lighting columns have been removed on the hill between the former Valley Lodge hotel and Rylands Farm. A further 18 have been removed on the winding section between Waters Corp. and The Honey Bee. Circa 14 have been removed between Mobberley Road and Waters Corp.

I would contest that A538 is a rural road with little in the way of cycle users or junctions. It is a main artery to/from the Wilmslow area - linking to the airport, Altrincham, Manchester and the motorway network. With the introduction of LED lighting I would cast doubt on how much this removal of columns contributes to a carbon reduction programme. I maintain that, in my opinion, safety for all road users is compromised by these current actions.