Chelmsford City Council are considering switching off street lights between midnight and 5 am to save money.
This is not the first time that Chelmsford has considered doing this. In March 2012 the idea was proposed, Essex Council and Colchester Council were considering turning the lights out during the summer months between midnight and 5am. Town centres, junctions and accident hot spots would not be included, just street lighting in residential streets on quieter roads.
What would Colonel Crompton think of this?
“We are taking a careful and considered approach to our part-night lighting scheme, and the consultation period ensures that we are sensitive to local needs. No streetlights will be switched to part-night operation until we have consulted with parish, district and borough councils, and the emergency services.” – County Councillor Derrick Louis, Cabinet Member for Highways & Transportation
The new consultation by Essex County Council is considering switching the lights off in the Chelmsford area. All parish and town councils are being consulted and maps of the proposed changes have already been sent to consultees. The six-week consultation period closes on Friday 30th November, so we should know more early December.
Are Chelmsford Streets Safe At Night?
While this will certainly save a lot of money, evening and night workers who have to walk home through unlit streets will be at greater risk of assault. Street lights have always provided security for pedestrians and help to reduce crimes on walkers. Good street lighting also deters burglars and other criminals who may stalk the streets at night.
However, trials in other parts of Essex proved to be successful.
“The County Council has been running a part-night lighting scheme in Maldon and Uttlesford since 2007. During the trial period there was no demonstrable increase in crime statistics or road collisions.” Source: http://www.essex.gov.uk
So, can these plans really work? There must be better ways to save money than to turn out all the lights? It will be interesting to see if the Christmas lights in town are switched off at night after the shops have closed too – let’s hope that they are.
Read more: Part-night lighting consultation in Chelmsford. 25 October 2012. Essex County Council website.