STREET lights could go out in and around Northwich and Winsford to save cash.
Fewer and dimmer street lights, more efficient light bulbs, and reduced levels of lighting maintenance are being looked at by the county council.
Street lighting across Cheshire is costing £4.23m a year. Energy costs absorb £2m, routine maintenance £1.6m and structural maintenance, including the renewal of dilapidated lighting columns, a further £630,000.
Councillors initially stumbled across the idea when trying to squeeze more street lighting out of tight budgets last summer. They were not successful.
They then looked at removing street lights where there is little or no adjacent property to save money which could then be used in more important areas.
But now officers have been asked to monitor experiments in Essex where up to 80% of street lighting in two areas is switched off between midnight and 5am.
This is against a backdrop of street lights in Cheshire increasing by 2% a year, requiring a further £40,000 in energy while also increasing CO2 emissions.
Before any drastic measures are taken, the council will seek views of residents, property owners and road users.
The county council’s environment scrutiny select committee is asking for further investigation.