Labour accuses Tory councils over streetlight switch-offs
14 September 2012
A survey of local authorities in England commissioned by the Labour Party has revealed that most Conservative-controlled county councils and unitary authorities are switching lights off for hours every night.
Of the 49 Tory authorities surveyed, 30 have turned lights off either completely or for a few hours a night. By contrast, just four of 17 Labour-controlled authorities surveyed have done so.
Overall, 41 of the 82 councils surveyed are turning off streetlights. Labour’s survey did not cover metropolitan districts and London boroughs.
According to the AA, accidents on roads in non-built-up areas are fatal in just over three per cent of cases if there are streetlights, but that figure rises to nearly five per cent if there are no lights.
Shadow communities and local government secretary Hilary Benn said: ‘Streetlights play an important part in ensuring that people are safe and feel safe, including on our roads, but this survey shows that parts of Britain are being plunged into darkness.’
The majority of councils surveyed had either already implemented or were considering introducing new lighting or dimming to help cut electricity costs. Of these, 29 were Conservative-led and 10 were Labour-led.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change said that dimming or turning off streetlights should be ‘a local decision’.