March 2, 2020 4.50 pm This story is over 28 months old

“Residents not concerned over street lighting” says Lincolnshire highways chief

More than half of the county’s 68,000 street lights have been switched off

“Residents are not concerned about part-night lighting,” the county’s highways chief has said after just one parish council asked for lights to be switched back on in 12 months.

The council turned off more than half of its 68,000 street lights in 2016 in a bid to save £1.7 million.

Following public outcry, including more then 74.2% of 5,000 respondents to a 2017 council survey describing the changes as “negative or extremely negative”, the council reviewed its policy.

Since February 2019, town and parish councils have been able to apply to keep lights on all night for a one-off payment of £150 or £300 per light, depending on whether a separate visit is needed.

A report before Highways Committee next week, however, said that despite enquiries from Gainsborough, Louth, Metheringham, West Pinchbeck, Skegness, Deeping St James and Billingborough, just four lights in Pinchbeck have been requested.

Executive councillor for highways Councillor Richard Davies said: “For those communities that still wanted the lights on all night, we put in the mechanism for local councils to request that.

Councillor Richard Davies, cabinet member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council. Picture: Calvin Robinson.

“However, with just one parish council requesting four street lights to be left on, it’s clear that residents aren’t particularly concerned about the impact of part night lighting.”

The county council has hailed the changes as a success and said the changes have reduced carbon emissions by 6,200 metric tonnes a year and saved £2.5 million in annual electricity costs.

This year, the authority expects to spend £1.95 million on street lights – before the part-night switch-off it would have cost £4.5 million.

Councillor Davies said: “This is a significant saving – above what we had initially estimated – and it allows us to invest more in the council’s other priorities, including looking after older people and fixing even more potholes.

“There’s no evidence that the change to part night lighting affected the crime rate in Lincolnshire, but we can now see that it has had a marked effect on cutting the impact on the environment.”

Residents have previously raised fears about a perception in increased crime levels as well as road safety concerns.

Some added that they felt the lighting changes had increased a general sense of social isolation and “placed a curfew” on vulnerable residents.

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