‘Road safety won’t be an issue’ when street lights are switched off - says safety group

Some street lights will be switched off around Lincolnshire as part of the County Council's cost-cutting measures.
Some street lights will be switched off around Lincolnshire as part of the County Council's cost-cutting measures.

Residents have been given assurances there will not be any road safety issues after street lights in Louth are switched off this month.

Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership officer John Siddle has spoken out to reassure residents as the county council prepares to switch off street lights as part of cost-cutting measures.

Mr Siddle said: “There really shouldn’t be an issue in terms of road safety.

“Where street lights are needed on junctions for safety reasons I’ve had reassurances they won’t be turned off.

“They [the council] looked at all the proposed sites that did present a road safety issue.

“And cross referred with any areas that have had collisions before.

“One of the locations they looked at was junctions.

“They [junction lights] wouldn’t be turned off especially as they’ve been put in place because it is a junction.

“That’s why it [the light] went in there in the first place.”

And Mr Siddle said it was perfectly safe to drive in complete darkness.

He said: “People can drive in complete darkness with headlights. We do have headlights on cars and that’s what they’re for.”

He added: “Most other lights are just ambient lights put in there for people walking about.”

The measures come as the council looks to save £1.7m from its annual £5m streetlighting budget.

LCC says ‘part-night’ lighting will be introduced in most residential areas.

Lights will turn on at dusk and remain on until midnight but will then be switched off until 6am.

This will affect 38,000 lights across Lincolnshire.

And the council says an additional 3,000 lights, away from built up areas, could be switched off entirely.

In addition, 17,000 of the county’s 68,000 lights will be swapped for low energy LED units which can be dimmed.

The changes are taking place across the county in phases between April 2016 and March 2017, with the work that has already taken place equating to savings of over £400,000 per year.

LCC executive member for highways and transport Coun Richard Davies said: “Streetlights are expensive, and, frankly, many of them do not need to be on during the small hours of the morning – all they are doing is burning taxpayers’ money.

“The evidence shows that, by turning these lights off at times when there is less traffic, we can save money without affecting the majority of road users.

“And by saving money in this way, we can protect other vital areas, like the pothole budget.”