A group of Labour councillors have demanded that Lincolnshire County Council reverse its decision to turn thousands of street lights off at 10pm and many more at midnight.
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.
Labour Shadow Executive Member for Highways, Councillor Robin Renshaw, will challenge transport portfolio holder, Councillor Richard Davies, at a full meeting of Lincolnshire County Council on Friday, May 20.
Councillor Renshaw has described the switch off of 38,000 street lights in Lincolnshire as “outrageous”.
He said: “There is a lot of research showing burglary and break ins increase in dark streets let alone the difficulties for the old and disabled when walking at night.
“Now that the Tories have started switching off the lights, they will be responsible if there is an increase in crime and fear of crime.
“And it’s not just the effect on residents and crime – it is costing a fortune. The average cost in terms of equipment and labour to turn off one light is £58. A total cost of over £2 million.
What a waste.
“This cash could have been used to upgrade the lights to LED which would save energy costs in future and improve quality of lighting as evidenced by main roads in Lincoln.”
A petition set up by Lincoln resident and sixth form student Darryl Smalley with the aim of convincing the council to look into reduced lighting rather than scheduled blackouts has been signed by nearly 1,500 members of the public.
Almost 1,000 residents also had their say on a poll set up by The Lincolnite, with 70% of readers saying that they were unhappy with the new street lighting arrangement.
Richard Hardesty, senior project leader at Lincolnshire County Council said: “Whilst there is no statutory duty for the county council to provide street lighting, where it is provided its purpose is to improve the safety of the highway, based on traffic volumes and levels of use.
“At every location, we’ve given careful consideration to the effects of dimming, converting to part-night or switching off lights. This has been done in conjunction with Lincolnshire Police, the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership and the Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership.”