Council lodges plans to turn off 3,000 street lights in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire County Council is considering turning off 3,000 of the county’s street lights in order to save money.

It currently costs the council £5 million to keep street lights lit across the county. Plans to make annual savings of £1.7million could see the following under councillors’ proposals:

  • Up to 3,000 street lights, away from built up areas, have been identified for possible switch off, subject to further assessments
  • 17,000 of the county’s 68,000 lights will be swapped for low-energy LED ones which can be dimmed
  • ‘Part-night’ lighting is being introduced, mainly in residential areas, where lights will turn on at dusk and, in many cases, remain on until midnight. Lights will then be switched off until morning. This will affect 38,000 street lights.

UPDATE: The council is currently considering switching off lights on rural roads including the A15, A16, A17, A52, A57, A158 and A607. Officers are working with the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership to assess safety implications and are engaging with parish councils before changes are made. 

The savings will contribute towards the £41m the authority needs to find for 2016/17.

Engineers will be making these changes between April 2016 and March 2017.

The council is responsible for 83% of street lights in the county, including those in town centres, residential areas and on roads.

The others are mainly footway lighting and belong to local councils including districts and parishes. There will be no changes to street lighting at some locations, including those where:

  • There are road safety features such as zebra crossings or speed humps
  • There is a significant record of night-time crime
  • There is sheltered housing, warden-controlled accommodation or a care home

Safety concern

Lincolnshire County Councillor Richard Davies. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Lincolnshire County Councillor Richard Davies. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Councillor Richard Davies, Executive Member for Highways, said: “We have to reduce our annual spending by £170 million over the next four years which means we cannot provide services at the level we have been doing.

“It currently costs £5 million a year to maintain and run our street lights, so this is a sensible way for us to reduce our spending and it’s also good for the environment.

“Our carbon footprint will be reduced by over 6,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, which is a third of our five year target. There will also be less light pollution.

“We already install low-energy lights that can be dimmed where we can, and when existing ones come to the end of their lifespan we consider if they are even still needed – so this project is nothing new, we are just accelerating the savings that can be made. Local authorities in North Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Norfolk have also introduced similar initiatives.

“However, public safety remains our overriding concern, and we’re working with the emergency services to make sure communities continue to benefit from a safe highway network.

“At every location, we’ve given careful consideration to the effects of dimming or switching off lights before taking a decision. In some places, we found that changes wouldn’t be appropriate, so we are keeping things as they are.”