Lincolnshire reviews street light switch-off amid safety fears

Lincolnshire is reviewing its policy of switching off and dimming streetlights to save money, as residents voice concerns about safety.

The county council began switching off and dimming lights last year in a bid to save £10 million in 10 years. It has also converted around a quarter of its lights to energy-saving LED.

Dozens of councils across the UK have taken similar steps in recent years, in response to cuts to their budgets.

But Lincolnshire residents have raised concerns about safety on unlit roads, with Labour councillors calling the policy “outrageous”. The council’s initial plan to start switching some lights off at 10pm was scaled down last year following a backlash from residents, with switch-offs now beginning at midnight instead.

Many residents and businesses across Boston and Skegness have concerns about reduced street lighting in some areas, especially as the nights start to draw in after the summer. I am pleased that the council have recognised the need for residents to feel secure and will look at the impact of the policy change.

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman

The council says it has “given careful consideration to the effects of dimming or switching off lights”, and has left lights on in areas that have a history of night-time crime and accidents, or a particular need for night-time light.

It said its review “will consider how the policy has been implemented and whether there needs to be any adjustments in the light of experience”.

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman welcomed the news, saying: “Many residents and businesses across Boston and Skegness have concerns about reduced street lighting in some areas, especially as the nights start to draw in after the summer. I am pleased that the council have recognised the need for residents to feel secure and will look at the impact of the policy change.”

In March Lincolnshire County Council completed a 12-month “street lighting transformation project” at a cost of £6.4 million.

Around 60% (42,000) of the county’s 68,000 street lights are now turned off between midnight and 6am, with a further 1,000 switched off completely.

Around a quarter (17,000) of lights have been upgraded to LED, and are dimmed late at night. The rest will also be replaced with LED in future, the council says.

With projected savings of £1.7 million a year, the council says it expects the measures to pay for themselves in three years.

Image credit: Scott Akerman

 

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