October 22, 2021 5.10 pm

Lights (back) on! Opposition demands end to Lincolnshire County Council’s switch offs

Most street lights are turned off at midnight in the county

Lincolnshire County Council’s Labour Group will call on the Conservative-led authority to rethink its policy of turning off street lights in built-up areas overnight.

The present situation, introduced in 2016, means that most street lights in Lincolnshire are turned off at midnight, as the council said in March this year that lighting has “no impact” on night-time crime levels.

This statement came after a petition signed by over 5,000 people demanded that street lights were kept on overnight following the death of Sarah Everard in London this year.

The response to Sarah Everard’s death was one of concern for women’s safety, to which the council responded by saying “women’s safety is about much more than street lights.”

A memorial for Sarah Everard in Lincoln on university campus. | Photo: The Lincolnite

More than half of Lincolnshire’s street lights were turned off in 2016 as the council looked to save £1.7 million, and despite the petition and concerns raised, just one parish council asked for lights to be switched back on in 12 months, according to the county’s highways chief.

Now Kev Clarke, Labour County Councillor for Boultham Division in Lincoln and member of Lincolnshire County Council Highways Scrutiny Committee, will be raising the issue at the next meeting on Monday, October 25.

He will be calling for a review of LCC’s street lighting policy, and asking for the council to consider the possibility of keeping the lights on overnight.

Councillor Clarke argues: “After recent sad events – attacks on females – a lot of people feel unsafe and anxious when walking home at night when the county is plunged into darkness at midnight.

“Lincoln is being promoted as a university city with young people leaving home for the first time and moving to Lincoln to study here and gain a first class education. Wonder if the parents were told that lights go off, if so they may look at other locations for their children.

“To boost our local economy we want to attract visitors to Lincoln to visit not only as day–trippers, but to stay over for longer periods to enjoy the benefits of the city and county – one of which is not the turning off of the lights.

“Labour County Councillors are not alone in this plea to Lincolnshire County Council to review the current street lighting policy particularly in Lincoln before it’s too late. Students at the University of Lincoln also want to see changes to the current policy.”

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