There are concerns for road safety following a survey showing that almost three quarters of councils have already cut back on street lighting, or are considering doing so (Telegraph).
98 out of 133 local authorities who responded to the survey said they were scaling back street lighting, or were looking into doing so, in a bid to cut energy bills and meet climate change targets.
The Telegraph reports that the blackouts affect thousands of streets in rural areas, suburbs and city centres in almost every county in the UK, despite concerns from residents and police that this will lead to an increase in traffic accidents and crime.
The schemes involve either switching some lights off altogether or installing new lamps which automatically dim or turn off during ‘quiet’ periods. In some instances, technology is being installed which will allow CCTV operators to dim or brighten lights according to the need.
Peter Box, chairman of the Local Government Association’s economy and transport board, said: "At these times of severe financial pressure all councils are looking for ways to make savings without impacting on front line services such as child protection, adult social care, collecting bins and filling potholes. Provided it is done in consultation with the police and local communities, reducing street lighting can save taxpayers’ money without reducing public safety.”
Steven Altman, a Green Party councillor in Norwich, an area expected to be significantly affected, said: “The environmental and economic benefits have been overstated. There is a lot of opposition from residents who are concerned about the impact it will have on crime.”
A spokesman for the Police Federation said: “The lighter an area is, the safer it is for public safety, pedestrians and indeed, motorists."
Click here to read the full Telegraph report.