Norfolk council dismisses street light switch-off fears in Norwich
Council leaders have today dismissed claims that turning off street lights in Norwich will make it more dangerous for women.
Norfolk County Council is consulting with city residents about switching off lights from midnight to 5am.
This comes after the authority's decision in July 2010 to make the change in Wymondham, followed by other towns and villages, to save money and reduce its carbon footprint.
But the Labour Party nationally demanded an urgent review into the effects of these cuts on women's safety.
Shadow home affairs minister Stella Creasy, speaking on the shortest day of the year, said: 'The Tory-led Government is being breathtakingly complacent in allowing street lights to be turned off across the country without doing any review of the effects on crime and people's perception of crime.
'David Cameron's Government doesn't seem to care that women working shifts or returning from an evening out could be put at risk as they walk home in the dark.'
Norfolk County Council was among six local authorities named by Labour.
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But Councillor Graham Plant, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said there had been no evidence to suggest crime had increased in Wymondham, or anywhere else, in the last 18 months.
He said: 'One of our consultees is the constabulary. In Essex, when they did it, crime went down. The fear of crime can be put there by people but the evidence is suggesting it's not happening.
'What we do is we go out to consultation with the constabulary and with the streets involved.
'There's not been a sudden spate of crimes for turning the lights off from midnight to 5am.
'It meets the green agenda, in as much as we are cutting back on the carbon footprint, and we are saving money for the people of Norfolk.'
The council says 4,000 street lights are turned-off for part of the night in Norfolk, which has led to an annual saving of �35,000.
Mr Plant added the project was continuously monitored, lights could be turned back on if required at a cost of �20 each and streets with CCTV were not affected.