Part-night lighting

Essex County Council has now completed the roll-out of it's part night lighting programme.  This means that Essex County Council-owned street lights that don’t meet the exception criteria have been turned off between midnight and 5am (except for in parts of Epping Forest where lights are switched off between 1am and 5am). 

There are pressures on the Council to reduce costs and ensure good environmental management. One of the major areas of energy expenditure is street lighting (2010/11 street lighting energy costs were circa. £4m). Better management of this area has reduced costs as well as energy consumption. Switching to part night lighting will save approximately £1m per year and in addition reduce our carbon emissions by over 8,000 tonnes per year. This will also contribute to reducing light pollution.

Part night lighting has been in effect in Maldon and Uttlesford since early 2007, with some exceptions such as town centres, key road junctions and accident cluster sites. This has not resulted in any increase in recorded crime or road collisions in the two districts.

To see which lights will be switched off, please click your local area link on the left of this page.

Over 70% of the 127,000 council-owned streetlights are operating part night lighting, with certain exceptions that meet the key criteria below:

Exception criteria

Certain locations meeting the exception criteria will continue to be lit through the night, such as:

  • Sites where there are a large number of conflicting traffic movements (eg roundabouts) which are on significant routes (generally those lit by columns greater than 6m high)
  • Sites where street lights are installed as a result of accident remedial measures
  • Town Centre areas where there is one or more of the following features:

- Publicly maintained CCTV

- High proportion of high security premises (eg. banks, jewellers)

- Areas of high crime risk

- High concentration of people at night such as transport interchanges, nightclubs etc.

  • Main approaches to town centre areas where there is a mix of development between residential and commercial/industrial (eg. not exclusively residential)
  • Sites where the police can demonstrate that there is likely to be an increase in crime if the lights are switched off during part of the night (or that there will be a decrease in crime if the lights are switched back on)
  • Remote footpaths and alleys linking residential streets
  • Where there is a statutory requirement to provide lighting.

Lighting for road signs, traffic bollards etc., will not be affected.

For answers to some commonly asked questions about part-night street lighting, please see below.  If your question is not answered here, please contact Essex County Council Customer Services department at: or write to Customer Services, Essex Highways, PO Box 11, County Hall, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1LX.


Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the question to reveal/hide the answer:

Can Essex County Council legally turn off lights?
Why can’t you only switch off every other light? (1 in 2)
Why not replace the lighting with new technologies?
Can I pay to keep the street light outside my house on?
Will I get a reduction in my council tax?
Why my street?
What happens if there is an increase in crime/accident levels where part night lighting is in operation?
What about people who are partially sighted, elderly, start work early or finish late?
Can I claim against the Council if I am injured during the hours when street lights are not lit?
What happens if the cost of my car/home insurance increases due to part night lighting?
How can requests be made to turn lights back on?
Have the emergency services been consulted?
In my area the street lights go out at midnight, how come other lighting is still on at this time?
How much did part night lighting cost to implement?
What are the increasing energy costs?
Who made the decision for the part night lighting project?
What was the consultation process?
Why were residents not consulted?
Will part night lighting be reviewed?
Why can’t you turn the lights off until the trains and buses cease to operate?
Why can’t you turn the lights on earlier to enable commuters’ safe passage to train and bus terminals?
When will the part night lighting start in my area?
What is the Essex County Council going to do to make our streets and homes safe between midnight and 5am?
What about the increase of road accidents during the period midnight and 5am
What about the fear of crime?
What about crime?
Who is going to pay for security lights to my premises now that the Essex County Council is failing to provide adequate security measures?
Which other Counties have introduced part night lighting?
What are the environmental benefits?