Cash-strapped county council to launch consultation on dimming streetlights across Leicestershire

The authority needs to save over £500,000 in the street lighting department
Streetlights could be dimmed to 30 per cent from 8pm. Photo by Lasse Møller.Streetlights could be dimmed to 30 per cent from 8pm. Photo by Lasse Møller.
Streetlights could be dimmed to 30 per cent from 8pm. Photo by Lasse Møller.

Residents are being urged to have their say on cost-cutting plans to dim street lights across Leicestershire.

A consultation will be launched on proposals to dim street lighting to 30 per cent from 8pm each night.

The cash-strapped authority needs to save more than £500,000 in the street lighting department over the next four years, a report states.

Currently, many areas are lit at 50 per cent brightness from 8pm and then drop to 30 per cent at 10pm.

And, according to the council’s cabinet, dimming the lights earlier carries the least risk.

However, the option still comes concerns, revealed a recent report. These include an increase in traffic accidents and people injuring themselves. However, some roundabouts and major junctions could be excluded from the lighting regime to reduce risks.

There are also worries vulnerable people could feel less safe being out at night and result in isolation. The council will be seeking opinions on the scheme from equality groups and the emergency services, as well as residents.

Other options considered were switching off all lights between midnight and 5.30am, and only providing street lighting between September and March.

The consultation is expected to be launched in the coming weeks, with results considered in December.Lead member for transport and highways Ozzy O’Shea said he had experienced the 30 per cent lighting at night and didn’t notice much difference.

He added: “We’re doing the right thing here. We’re trying to save money because we’re a lower funded council. We’ve been put in this position by the Government. We don’t want to cut anything in this council.”

Cllr O’Shea, who represents Groby and Ratby, also reassured that, if problems did arise, those lights could be turned back up: “We work with the police, we work with the emergency services. When we need to have the lights put on fully because we have crime in the area, we do that in connection with the police. We did that in Groby when we had problems there in March.”

The authority said the ‘minimal’ changes would create significant savings and reduce carbon emissions. The changes, if approved, would be made by the end of the year.