PLANS to shut off street lighting for three hours a night across Hampshire will come into force from this Monday, April 5.

Approved last October by Hampshire County Council, civic chiefs say the move, which will see no lighting on residential roads between 1am and 4am every night, will save £230,000 a year.

However, they add that street lighting in certain “high crime” areas will either not be turned off at all, or the timings varied. It will be judged on a case-by-case basis, the council says.

Street lights on roads with ‘vertical traffic calming’, such as speed bumps, or in the vicinity of light-controlled crossings, will also not be switched off. Illuminated road signs and bollards are unaffected by the proposal.

The decision, made on October 29 by transport and environment chief Rob Humby, who is also a Winchester city councillor, will see a reduction in the authority’s carbon dioxide (CO2) output by 720 tonnes per year, saving £12,960 in avoided carbon tax.

This will also contribute to the council’s objective to reduce its CO2 impact, it says. The move does not affect Southampton, which controls its own lighting.

As previously reported, the authority has gradually reduced its street light usage over the past few years.

Currently it dims lights on residential roads by 45 per cent from “switch-on” until 11.30pm, and 65 per cent from then until 5.30am. It’s then raised back to 45 per cent until “switch-off”. On major roads this dimming is lessened to a maximum of 50 per cent during the early hours.

By the end of 2018, the council says its energy consumption will be less than half of what it was in 2010, with savings of around £2 million a year.

But this new proposal will allow even more cash to be saved. This comes after 5,444 people took part in a public consultation into the plans, as well as 141 organisations, businesses, and groups.

From the report it was found that more than two thirds of respondents supported the county council’s proposal to turn street lights off, and a “dark period” of between three and four hours, starting between midnight and 1am, was “widely supported”.

The council noted that almost half of the respondents said that they would prefer lights to stay on at night in town and city centres, but were “most supportive” of lighting being turned off in residential areas.