A CORNWALL councillor has expressed his concerns as more street lights are set to be turned off across the county.
Cornwall Council will switch off street lights between midnight and 5am as part of the next phase of an initiative to reduce carbon emissions and cut light pollution.
The scheme also aims to help nature recovery and encourage nocturnal wildlife, protect designated ‘Dark Skies’ areas, and save money on energy costs.
Street lights in town centres where there is a strong night-time economy, areas where there is CCTV, and along main roads, will remain on or will be dimmed.
Residents can see for themselves where and when street lights will be turned off or dimmed between the hours of midnight and 5am with an interactive map on the council website.
Councillor Richard Williams-Pears, the council’s portfolio holder for transport, said: “So far 670 of the council’s street lights have been dimmed or turned off. That number increases to 3,800 in this next phase. The feedback we’ve had during phase one centres on concerns around safety. Safety is at the forefront in any decision about switching off street lights. Before we embarked on this initiative, we consulted with the Safer Cornwall Partnership who will be monitoring the situation carefully and feeding back any concerns.
“We won’t be compromising on safety as where risk assessments have shown that street lights are still beneficial, they will be kept on, or will be dimmed once new LED bulbs are fitted. Risk assessments will continue to be carried out and data shared with local stakeholders.
“Any concerns and requests, including requests from parish and town councils for areas where they want to see street lights switched off or turned back on again, are fully considered.”
Street lights will remain on or be dimmed between midnight and 5am to reduce light pollution, in locations such as traffic signal junctions, pedestrian crossings, subways, some roundabouts and junctions, and parts of town centres and footpaths that are still relatively busy during the night.
As well as this, some lights will be maintained on certain roads where there is traffic calming and speed humps, areas where there is CCTV or police surveillance equipment and entrances and exits to hospitals, police, ambulance and fire stations.
However, Cornwall councillor for Altarnun and Stoke Climsland Adrian Parsons hopes the county doesn’t have any repercussions from this decision.
He told the Post: “Since January 15, we have seen the further roll out of switching off and the dimming of street lighting across Cornwall between the hours of midnight and 5am. This is a move to reduce carbon as part of the councils Climate Emergency declaration, whilst reducing light pollution, and saving on energy costs.
“We’re told this initiative would see more than a 26 per cent reduction in energy usage. There will also be important benefits in creating more darkness for the recovery of our diminishing nocturnal wildlife, such as bats, moths and hedgehogs.
“Safety is at the forefront of any decision made when switching off streetlights and therefore where risk assessments have shown that they are still essential, lights will remain on. It has been said that the risk of pedestrians suffering an accident trebles when street lighting is switched off, so this will inevitably compromise road safety.
“Lack of illumination also means drivers struggle to clearly see objects and hazards, placing cyclists and pedestrians at a higher risk, so I just hope we don’t see any repercussions due to this.”