The councillor in charge of highways at Lincolnshire County Council has responded to fierce criticism of the council’s decision to turn thousands of street lights off at 10pm and many more at midnight.
In passionate exchanges inside County Hall on Friday, May 20, Councillor Richard Davies insisted that reducing street lighting and increasing part-lighting does not affect crime or accidents.
Councillor Davies faced criticism from Labour councillors Robin Renshaw and Phil Dilks, who challenged him to justify the council’s position.
As previously reported, over half of Lincolnshire’s 68,000 street lights have been reverted to a ‘part-night’ lighting system in a bid to save £1.7 million.
This means that they are being switched off between midnight (and as early as 10pm in some areas) until dawn.
Wearing a head torch, Councillor Renshaw asked Councillor Davies whether he would be issuing them to the electorate, comparing the blackout to the Blitz during the Second World War.
Following this theme, Councillor Dilks said that he was reminded of a headline in The Sun newspaper the day before the 1992 general election, which said: “If Kinnock (the then Labour Party leader) wins today, will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights?”
The Conservatives duly won the election with a fourth successive overall majority, something Councillor Davies was keen to point out to his fellow county councillor.
Councillor Davies said: “We are going to stick by the policy we have at the moment. There is a suggestion that there is wide-scale turn off lights across entire cities and towns.
“That’s simply not the case. Where we are turning lights off at 10pm is in cul-de-sacs and no through roads.
“We are not turning off widespread lights at ridiculous times throughout the day.”