The Parish Council is looking to decrease the impact artificial lighting (ecological light pollution) has on wildlife as well as reducing energy use (thus reducing the impact on climate change – every little helps!). Less lighting will also reduce costs to Somerset Council and this could be reflected in Council Tax. This initiative follows the actions of many councils around the UK (and further afield). Elsewhere, concerns were raised about the potential for reduced street lighting at night leading to increased levels of crime. However, a study by the Government funded National Institute for Health Research shows that reduced levels of lighting lead to lower levels of street crime.
Rode Parish Council therefore proposed that, as a trial, around a third of the lights in the village (of which there are over 70) would be turned off. The lights in question would be switched off between Midnight and 5.30am, and would then be switched on again until daylight. After a public consultation, the precise lights to be turned off were agreed. However, after further discussions with Somerset Council the PC was informed that, for each individiual street, either ALL the lights would be turned off, or NONE. As a result, the Parish Council has decided to consult further with residents. This consultation is likely to take place in December.