The growing number of councils switching off street lights to save money has ignited concerns among road safety groups and MPs (BBC News).
The UK’s 7.5m street lights cost around £500m each year to power. Schemes to switch them off in the early hours have already started or are planned in areas including Swansea, Essex, Leicestershire, Devon and parts of Yorkshire.
Councillors in Leicestershire say a scheme which permanently switched off 60 street lights and turned off 1,300 village lamps between midnight and 5:30am has saved money. The county council plans to turn off 1,000 more lights in a move expected to save about £19,000 over the first 12 months.
Matthew Lugg, Leicestershire’s director of environment and transport, said: "Experience from other councils shows that neither accidents nor crime increase and, in some areas, anti-social behaviour can decrease as it makes areas less attractive to hang around.”
However, Louise Ellman, transport select committee chairwoman, said: “I am extremely concerned that financial pressures are leading to steps which can jeopardise people’s lives and increase the number of injuries.
"We’ve made great progress in recent years in reducing the number of deaths and injuries on our roads. It would be tragic if by switching the lights off that progress was to be put back many years."
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