South Holland, the Deepings and Bourne are all about to get a lot darker at night and not just because of British Summertime ending this weekend.
A £6.4 million project which will see 3,000 street lights switched off completely, another 38,000 switched off overnight for six hours and 17,000 swapped for low-energy, dimmable lights has started in south-east Lincolnshire this month.
We simply cannot afford to do everything we have done in the past and it is a fact that streetlights are expensive, with many of them not needing to be on during the early hours of the morningCoun Richard Davies, LCC’s executive member for highways and transport
No details have been given away by Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) as to the exact dates when towns and villages in the region will be switched off.
But in an effort to save £1.7 million from its annual £5 million street lighting budget, a phasing-in of changes to how the area is lit at night will run from now until January.
Coun Richard Davies, LCC’s executive member for highways and transport, said: “The council’s budget has been cut by more than £100 million over the last few years and we have a further estimated budget shortfall of £57 million next year.
“We simply cannot afford to do everything we have done in the past and it is a fact that streetlights are expensive, with many of them not needing to be on during the early hours of the morning.
“All they are doing is burning taxpayers’ money and 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.
“By saving money in this way, we can protect other vital areas like the pothole budget.”
Details of LCC’s ‘Street Lighting Transformation Project’ first emerged in January when East Lindsey-based county councillor Colin Mair claimed LCC was facing a “financial crisis”.
Coun Mair said: “I have spoken to frontline police officers who are concerned that switching off street lights will lead to increased crime and anti-social behaviour.
“A lot of communities have also invested in interactive speed signs that rely on a power connection from the lamp-posts and these could be switched off as well.”
The project is already under way in Bourne, with Spalding, Holbeach, the Deepings, Gosberton and Sutton St James all due to be affected by January 2017.
Coun Davies, who is due to meet Spalding Business Club members in the town next Thursday, said: “Public safety remains an overriding concern and we will give careful consideration to the effects of any reduction in lighting.
“In some places, changes will not be appropriate and so we will keep things as they are.”