Will Cambridgeshire now dim the lights later following feedback from the public? If so it will be at a cost, councillors will be told

PUBLISHED: 10:17 08 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:17 08 January 2016

Street lights.

Street lights.

Archant

Street lights across Cambridgeshire could be switched off for only four hours - possibly five - if councillors agree a change of heart.

But it will come at a cost, the highways and community infrastructure will be told on Tuesday.

The council is considering amending proposals for switching off street lights at night in a bid to save £260,000 a year.

But councillors will now consider modifications; if, for example, street lighting is switched off two hours later than proposed - from 2am until 6am - it would mean losing £98,000 worth of savings.

If the proposal were modified to reduce the hours of switch off to between 1am and 6am, the £260,000 financial saving would be reduced by £49,000 to £211,000.

The current proposal is to increase the period of streetlight dimming (currently 8pm or 10pm until 6am) at all times, and to turn off lighting in residential roads between midnight and 6am.

Local parish, town and district councils have been invited to pay to keep the lights on, the committee will hear.

Of 24 local councils who responded, only eight confirmed they would be prepared to fund the costs of all, or some, of the streetlights in their areas to be kept on all night.

A county council review found no evidence of a relationship between the number of incidents of crime and streetlight switch off or part-night lighting.

During the public consultation period, October to December 2015, a total of 1,865 responses were received.

Thirty one per cent of respondents stated they agreed with the proposal to increase the dimming of streetlights, whereas 60 per cent said they disagreed.

Nineteen per cent (350 respondents) said they agreed with the proposal to introduce part night lighting, while the other 78 per cent (1,451 respondents) said they disagreed.

Graham Hughes, executive director for economy, transport and environment, said: “It is clear that significant concerns have been raised during the consultation exercises regarding the public’s perception that street lighting is necessary for public safety and crime reduction.

“However, this is consistent with the evidence from the independent analysis undertaken in other areas prior to part night lighting being implemented elsewhere.

“In all cases the public have raised concerns about the negative effects of reduced street lighting.

“However, there is no evidence from other authorities that have implemented this proposal that reduced street lighting has been associated with any increase in crime.”

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