West Lindsey residents give thumbs down to big switch off

More than 70 per cent of West Lindsey residents have given a '˜negative or very negative' response to a Lincolnshire County Council consultation on the impact of part night street lighting.

Fear of the dark: residents give thumbs down to big switch off
Fear of the dark: residents give thumbs down to big switch off

Fear of crime and the impact on working life were listed as two of the main reasons behind the responses in the district.

Street lights across the county were switched off in April 2016 as part of a 
money-saving campaign.

The decision proved controversial and the county council launched a consultation last November to gauge feedback from the public.

Across West Lindsey, 72.8 per cent of residents who took part gave a negative and extremely negative response to the switch off, with 26.7 per cent relating this to work based shifts.

There were just 14.5 per cent ‘positive’ and ‘extremely positive’ responses.

West Lindsey also record the highest response to the consultation in any area of the county.

In neighbouring East Lindsey, 74.2 per cent of residents gave a negative and extremely negative response, with 27.2 per cent relating this to working life and shifts.

There were just 13.6 per cent ‘positive’ and ‘extremely positive’ responses.

This compares with the Boston Borough, which had the highest negative response in the county (83.9 per cent), and just 8.5 per cent positive .

The survey asked a number of questions to ascertain the impact of the change, both positive and negative, and also allowed for feedback on any other exemptions that could be considered by a county council Scrutiny Panel.

It looked at factors such as the environment, road collisions, crime rates, fears about safety and crime, emergency services, health and public health services, the impact on businesses and the night time economy.

Lincolnshire Police have said there was no evidence to link part night lighting to an increase in crime, and it was people’s fear of crime that needed to be addressed.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue also said there had been no negative impact on the service, as all fire engines were fitted with mast lights, torches and all firefighters helmets had LED lights installed.

According to the consultation report, the results indicated a perception that the change to part night lighting had increased ‘a general sense of social isolation’ and placed a ‘curfew’ on some residents.

There was also a strong suggestion that the part time lighting hours should be amended to 1am-5am - to reduce the level of impact on businesses and shift workers.

The county councils says the changes led to a saving of £1.7m per year from the £5m annual street lighting budget.

As a result, about 42,000 streetlights, mainly in residential areas, are now switched off between midnight and 6am.

The survey’s findings will be discussed at a meeting of the scrutiny panel tomorrow (Thursday).