New report highly critical of NCC’s decision to turn off half our streetlightsPosted: April 25, 2013
Streetlights are essential to our safety and security. During my by-election, hundreds of people complained to me about the county council’s decision to turn off 30,000 street lights in the Northamptonshire, about half the lights in the county.
Streetlights reduce accidents, reduce the fear of crime, promote social activities and help emergency services carry out their duties more effectively.
New research, published by the Highway Electrical Association, is highly critical of the street lighting policies adopted by Northamptonshire County Council.
It provides more evidence against what what we already knew was a crazy decision from Northamptonshire County Council, and I will continue to work with local people over coming months to ensure that more streetlights are turned on again next winter.
I recently spoke in Parliament about NCC’s decision to turn off half of the counties streetlights. You can read a report about it on the Corby Telegraph website here.
The HEA report (pdf), which used data from 80% of UK local authorities, making it one of the most comprehensive pieces of research in this area to date, says there is “little excuse or cost benefit for imposing the arbitrary switching off of street lighting unless this is something the residents actually desire”.
The report also accuses some local authorities or “knee jerk” reactions and making residents “prisoners in their own homes”.
On an arbitrary switch-off the report says:
In many areas, including urban areas, there is little appetite for switching off lighting and here there is more scope for profiling the lighting requirements through the night to achieve an intelligently managed solution which responds to the varying needs of the populace at different times of the night in the most energy efficient way
On rural areas the report says:
In rural areas – there may be an argument for switching off lighting – however this should not be based purely on crime statistics, as the effects of the fear of crime can be pernicious, particularly with an ageing population and can make resident “prisoners in their own homes”. It is important to remember that lighting is primarily for safety and wellbeing, and there are other energy efficient options.
On funding the report says:
There are a number of “Invest to save” options and some authorities have reversed earlier decisions to implement part night lighting following coroners reports, resident pressure or simply by getting
The full report can be read on the HEA website