Street lighting back in the spotlight
STREET lighting in all towns may have to come under the microscope to see if cuts can be made to save energy, a community leader has warned.Suffolk Coastal council has generated a series of protests after suggesting part-night lighting in towns and villages across the district by switching off footway standard lights at midnight to save money and cut down on carbon emissions.
By Richard Cornwell
STREET lighting in all towns may have to come under the microscope to see if cuts can be made to save energy, a community leader has warned.
Suffolk Coastal council has generated a series of protests after suggesting part-night lighting in towns and villages across the district by switching off footway standard lights at midnight to save money and cut down on carbon emissions.
For many communities - especially modern housing estates - these lights are the only form of street lighting there is, standing on pavements and lighting the roads and protecting the community as highways lights do elsewhere.
After protests in Felixstowe, where it was proposed to turn off 200 lights mostly on the densely-populated Cavendish Park and Orwell Green estates, the idea was dropped.
But Felixstowe town and district councillor Andy Smith is convinced that the issue has not gone away and all types of street lighting may have to be reviewed in future.
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He said fundamental changes may be needed and “widespread and careful thought” needed to be given to the amount of street lighting to cut down on energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Of particular concern would be whether there was a need to have all the street lights burning later in the night or whether some could be turned off.
He said: “I think the county council should look at this. We should not get into the position where we say never or none, but we will have to look in a measured way and a thoughtful way at this because it is becoming a very important issue.”
However, the switching off of street lights is bound to cause concern because there is a perception that they make an area safer.
People who objected to the reduction of lighting in Felixstowe were worried at coming home from shiftwork or nightclubs to a dark area, and concerned for their homes and cars.
The new Safer Neighbourhood Groups are to be asked for their views.
Do you our communities have too many street lights on at night? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk