Lights Out

So here they are changing our street lights so that they turn off at midnight, in order to save money.


Which councils are changing their lights

We had the right to express any concerns.

They were that:

  • There may be an increase in criminal activity.

They said that it has been found to decrease crime because people are less likely to go out.

  • We were concerned about night workers.

They said they shouldn’t be walking the streets late at night anyway – to take a taxi instead.

  • We worried about teenagers out late.

They said that teenagers should be home by midnight & any later was bad parenting.

  • We worried about people coming out of pubs/nightclubs/friend’s houses.

Again they said they should be getting a taxi or home earlier.


Some lights will remain on – such as those by alleys (I believe).

It has been that turning off lights increases the likelihood of car crashes (source)


What do you think?

Would you like the lights off? Do you have one glaring through your window?

Do you think their reasoning was good enough?

Are you affected by the switch off?

6 thoughts on “Lights Out”

  1. We don’t have such luxuries as street lights where we live because we live so remotely! Where my mums lives however, her cul-de-sac is full of them and I find it almost impossible to sleep properly. We have shutters on our windows and when the moon is shining in a clear sky, those shutters come in very handy. I guess it’s what you get used to. Sounds like many councils are just sweeping these concerns under the carpet. Which is very typical.

    CJ xx

  2. Does it Save Energy? Britain’s overall energy consumption per annum is 317,832 gigawatt hours, yielding 560 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). Of this, about 19% is attributable to lighting in general… but only 0.6% is created by public exterior lighting. In other words, we could achieve far greater energy-saving results by switching off unnecessary domestic lighting than slashing our street lighting. The average UK four-bedroom house consumes electricity to the value of around £800 per year, while an average residential street light costs marginally over £40 per year to run – therefore a mere 10% reduction in household energy consumption would run two street lights for a year.

    But, paradoxically, switching off street lights can actually add costs, rather than saving them – for example, the labour cost involved in removing a street light could be as high as £400 -or ten years’ running costs. Even converting the lights to part-night running could cost about £100, or 2.5 years running costs. Therefore, in the short term, there is little overall saving in energy, or costs, in adopting a part-night or switch-off policy for street lighting.

    Are There any Benefits? Switching off street lights is a very publicly visible measure — and can be employed by local authorities to promote energy-saving policies to their community in other areas. In this way, far greater savings may be made than from the street lights themselves.

    More importantly, switching off lighting in a planned way can have a long-term effect on an authority’s budget. For many years the British street lighting industry has been woefully under-funded, with some experts estimating that on current budget levels it would take 40 years to replace all the dilapidated stock currently in need of replacement. If we switch off and remove some of this out-of-date stock, but don’t replace it, this would enable the more efficient use of existing budgets. At the same time, some of the outdated, light-polluting street lights could be replaced by more modern, technologically advanced systems – for example lights that can be switched and dimmed via the internet, or other wireless connection, in response to local conditions or needs.

    Raising the Crime Rate? While lighting is often deployed successfully as a crime deterrent, this is not the same as saying that the two issues are inextricably linked. If an area with existing street lights is deemed to be a ‘low crime’ risk, turning them off, or part-night switching them, is unlikely to change things. Of course, to remove street lights from a high crime risk area would be less prudent. Consultation with the local police crime reduction service should always be undertaken, to select those areas where whole, or part-night, switching, is a safe option in terms of crime.

    More Road Accidents? Again, there won’t necessarily be any increase in traffic accidents. Lighting seems to play a less important role in accident reduction these days – for example, the Highways Agency recently downgraded its estimates of the benefits of lighting in reducing traffic accidents, possibly due to advances in motor car headlights and braking systems over the last four decades. Again each area needs individual consideration. There are also other modern alternatives to street lighting that can be employed in many situations, including LED road studs, highly reflective road-signs and so on. But they certainly shouldn’t be used as substitutes for conventional road lighting in ‘high accident’ locations.

    So is Total Switch off, or Part-night Switching, a Good Idea? Ultimately there is no simple answer to this. It is a complex issue and every potential project should be looked at in detail by expert teams, including lighting engineers, police and other specialists. In order to achieve long term savings, short term investment in appropriate lighting strategies will reap the maximum benefits. In the final analysis, it is the lighting engineer’s responsibility to consider precisely the kind of lighting, its power and wattage and how long it needs to run for in any given scenario. There will clearly be some situations where part-night switching, or a complete ‘switch off’, is viable — but importantly there will also be locations where it would be foolhardy in the extreme. But alarmist newspaper stories and headlines simply obscure the real issues.


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