ENERGY SAVING: Could some street lights be turned off at night in the Byron Shire?. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
ENERGY SAVING: Could some street lights be turned off at night in the Byron Shire?. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott BUN181115LIGHT1

Council to investigate turning off street lights at night

Could some street lights be turned off at night in the Byron Shire?

Byron Shire Councillors have asked staff to investigate this as a way of saving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping nocturnal wildlife.

Mayor Simon Richardson proposed the Notice of Motion at this week's Council meeting, saying there could be enormous benefits for the environment and the community.

"Every night in Australia there are more than two million street lights that are on all night, and this is the case in the Byron Shire, even in small villages and towns,” Mayor Richardson said.

"When you look at a street in Federal, or a back street of Bangalow, at 2am in the morning the only thing that people are doing is sleeping and yet the street lights continue to burn all night, every night.

"These lights are wasting energy and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and there's also the impact on nocturnal wildlife like birds, frogs, insects and animals who move around in the dark.

"As a community we are very lucky in that we can look at the sky at night and see the stars and the Milky Way but this is not the case in many cities where, because of light pollution, the stars are invisible.

"Some cities in the world are introducing smart street lights that have built-in motion sensors and others have started turning off lights on residential roads from 1am - 4am every night.

"I can't see any reason why we can't do this in the Byron Shire,” Mayor Richardson said.

"There will naturally be questions about safety and this is something that will be addressed when staff report back to Council.

Council staff will now prepare a report which looks at the feasibility of turning off residential streetlights including:

  • Financial and emissions savings
  • Human and environmental benefits
  • Safety issues

"I would also like to see some trial sites set up in the Byron Shire where the lights are turned off in some streets and residents report back to Council on the results,” Mayor Richardson said.