Manual street lights in Golspie 'save power'

Image caption,
Highland Council is also looking at light dimming technology

People using a path at night are helping to save energy by turning on street lights manually to illuminate the route, according to a report.

The project in Golspie, in Sutherland, has 23 lights on a timer that gives about 15 minutes to reach either end of the path.

It is part of wider efforts by Highland Council to reduce its lighting costs and power consumption.

Light emitting diodes, or LED, are also being tested in Thurso, in Caithness.

In a report to councillors, officers said the Golspie scheme was "innovative".

The footpath involved links the A9 to a new housing development.

Officers said local feedback was positive and no-one had reported being caught out in the dark.

The lights can be turned on by switches installed at both ends of the route.

Harmful gases

The council has also been exploring the use of technology that dims street lights and turning off lights where it was deemed safe to do so.

In 2008, a councillor suggested at least half of the street lamps in the Highlands, outside town and city centres, could be switched off to cut emissions and costs.

Robert Coghill said reducing lighting by a minimum of 50% would help reduce the region's carbon footprint, a measure of harmful gases it produces.

But council convener Sandy Park ruled out any cut and said the authority was already saving energy.

Mr Park added that electricity bought for street lighting was "green".

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