LIGHT reduction campaigners are celebrating plans by North Yorkshire County Council to switch off street lighting in a bid to save hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The work will see the removal of some lamp standards, the dimming of others and a number will be switched off throughout the early hours of the morning.

Certain areas, such as potential hazards, places with significant night-time road use and town centres with night-time activity, will not be affected.

Meanwhile, a leaflet outlining the plan has been sent out to the public who are being invited to comment on the scheme.

North Yorkshire County Council bosses reckon that the task in Craven should be completed by 2016 and help the county slash 27 per cent of street lighting carbon emissions. Money savings could amount to £400,000 countywide.

Jules Marley, chairman of the Craven branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said the news was a "massive step in the right direction", but more needed to be done.

"The reduction of light pollution will have a positive effect on the night skies - something CPRE campaign passionately about. The impact on biodiversity will also be noticed which again will be of benefit to humans and the environment."

Her colleague, former chairman Peter Rigby, of Beamsley, a long-time fierce opponent of light pollution, has written to County Hall bosses urging them to switch off all 170 sodium lights along Skipton bypass.

He said: "They are unnecessary, even on the roundabouts. It can't be claimed they are there as a safety measure because I can cite Bolton Abbey roundabout which has no lighting and it's on a very busy road.

"I'm not against some light for safety reasons, of course, such as in Skipton town centre where they could be dimmed, but there are many lights which could be removed."

Cllr Robert Heseltine said the scheme would help reduce the carbon footprint and also be beneficial at a time where the authority was facing a 40 per cent reduction from the Government which was placing severe pressure on the budget.

A county council spokesman said the street lighting energy reduction programme would take over four years to complete. It did not include lights managed by borough, district or parish councils.

"North Yorkshire Council Council's annual carbon emission total is around 78,000 tonnes of which 16 per cent, 11,200 tonnes, comes from street lighting.

"In addition 'sky glow' or light pollution will be significantly reduced, allowing a clearer view of the night sky."