Crime concern as councils switch off street lights

We're all aware that local councils need to save money, but is switching off street lighting really the way to go? A survey of 75 councils found that 43 per cent are committed to switching off street lamps in a bid to cut back and meet climate change targets, 19 per cent are considering some form of blackout and a further 12 per cent will be dimming lights.

Police car on dark road
Top related searches:
  1. Security
  2. Lighting
  3. The AA
  4. Street lights
  5. Home security
  6. Outdoor lighting
  7. Solar lighting
  8. Crime prevention
  9. Road safety
  10. Local councils

Britain's street lighting costs an estimated £500 million to run each year and there's no doubt that some form of blackout would help councils to cope with 26 per cent cut in government funding.

But the police fear these darker streets could encourage muggers, burglars and vandals, while motoring experts fear more accidents are inevitable.

A spokesman for the Police Federation told the Daily Mail: "If an area is well-lit then the level of crime is likely to decrease. The cuts could well mean that back streets and outer areas become a more fertile area for criminals to become more active in."

Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA, agreed, saying: "Local authorities have to get the right balance between plunging people into darkness and saving money.

"It is not just road safety but a question of security in residential areas."

Some local councils are already switching off a proportion of their street lights on a trial basis. Nottinghamshire County Council told the Newsnight survey that it planned to dim lights on main roads, turn off up to half of those in residential areas between midnight and 5.30am and plunge rural areas into total blackness.

The proposal hasn't gone down well. Jason Zadrozny, a Lib Dem councillor for the high-crime Stanton Hill area, collected more than 2,000 signatures protesting against a reduction in street lighting.

However, since councils are under no obligation to light our streets and with funding cuts on the way, many of us could be left in the dark this winter.

What do you think? Should the councils be forced to light the streets or is it a reasonable way to cut spending? Leave your comments below...