Streetlight switch off illuminates safety fears
Streetlights across Britain are being turned off as councils attempt to meet carbon emission targets, despite growing concerns from road safety campaigners (Telegraph).
The lights are being turned off on motorways and major roads, in town centres and residential streets, and on footpaths and cycle ways, as councils try to save money on energy bills and meet carbon emission targets.
The Telegraph says the move is being made despite concerns that it will lead to an increase in road accidents and crime.
An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph found that 3,080 miles of motorways and trunk roads in England are now completely unlit; a further 47 miles of motorway now have no lights between midnight and 5am; out of 134 councils which responded to a survey, 73% said they had switched off or dimmed some lights or were planning to; and 27 county councils have turned off or dimmed street lamps in their areas.
The vast majority of councils have chosen to turn lights off at night, at times when they say there is less need for them, while others have installed lamps which can be dimmed.
A spokesman for RoSPA said: “The presence of lighting not only reduces the risk of traffic accidents but also their severity. Surveys have shown that the public are in favour of street lighting as a way of improving road safety and that, if anything, it needs to be improved in some areas.
“There are economic and environmental reasons why some organisations may wish to reduce the amount of lighting. However there are safety reasons why lighting needs to be available.”
Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, said: “We do know that most accidents happen in the dark, it’s also comforting for people, especially if they arrive back from somewhere in the night, when they have got a late train. There are also suggestions that it increases crime. So it may save money in terms of energy but then you have to look at the cost in terms of security, safety and accidents, it may actually be more.
“Motorway drivers don’t like changing situations, from light to dark and dark to light, but I don’t think we would argue for no lighting at all. It is extremely comforting for drivers, especially in bad weather.”
Click here to read the full Telegraph report.