Call for rethink over Norfolk street light switch off is rejected

Street lights in Norwich. Pic: Adrian Judd.

Street lights in Norwich. Pic: Adrian Judd. - Credit: AJ_2_STREETLIGHTS.JPG

A call for a rethink over areas where street lights have been turned off late at night and in the early hours has been rejected.

In recent years, Norfolk County Council has targeted the 52,000-plus street lights it operates, installing LED alternatives, switching them off during the night and removing some completely, as part of a pledge to halve its carbon emissions by 2020.

The council said that has saved £1.4m and roughly 7,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions since 2008.

The decision, six years ago, to switch off some lights between certain times caused controversy, with concern it could lead to increased crime, or fear of crime.

The progress on the switch-off was discussed by members of Norfolk County Council's environment, transport and development

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committee yesterday, where Bert Bremner, Labour councillor for the city's University ward, called for a rethink.

He said the committee should ask the council to look into turning the lights back on if there was demand from the public.

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He said: 'I would like to see the chairman stroll through an area in my division at 1am in the morning and see what it feels like and relate that to a young lady or man going back to the university.'

He was backed by his party colleague Colleen Walker, who represents Great Yarmouth's Magdalen ward. She said: 'People do not feel safe walking on the streets late at night'.

But their proposal was quashed, by 12 to two, with one abstention.

Conservative Graham Plant, who represents Gorleston St Andrews, said: 'We have asked the police for evidence and there has been a reduction in crime. Nobody has been attacked in the dark, as far as I am aware, because of part night lighting.

'This is a political stance, so Mr Bremner can go back to his residents with it. The truth of the matter is that this stops light pollution and the reality is that there is no further danger in area and part night lighting and it is actually reducing crime.'

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