Plans to plunge Mid Beds villages into darkness

PLANS to switch off street lights in towns and villages in Mid Beds for part of the night moved a step closer this week. Central Beds revealed its strategy for managing highway lighting where councillors heard why lights could soon be dimmed or even turne

PLANS to switch off street lights in towns and villages in Mid Beds for part of the night moved a step closer this week.

Central Beds revealed its strategy for managing highway lighting where councillors heard why lights could soon be dimmed or even turned out altogether between midnight and 6am.

Moves to change the council's lighting strategy will be reviewed after two pilot schemes for the project, in Dunstable and Flitwick, have been completed at the end of September.

Central Beds is looking to save money but at the same time needs to overhaul some of its stock of 21,000 street lights and by spending �2.2m in the current financial year the council estimates it would save �20,000 year on electricity bills alone and a further �10,000 on maintenance costs.


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Among the proposals on council's strategy, if adopted, would be for street lighting to be dimmed between 11pm and 6am on all traffic routes and also during the remaining lit hours depending on the nature of the route; turning lights on ten to 20 minutes later and turning them off earlier; turning off street lights for part of the night from midnight until 6am where supported by the local community and remove illumination on signs and bollards.

The council is aware that good street lighting provides communities with an increased sense of security and confidence and reducing levels of light can have an adverse affect on the effectiveness of CCTV operations.

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But the strategy has not been universally welcomed by councillors representing Stotfold and Arlesey.

Cllr John Saunders said: "People living in villages will be angry and concerned about this. Good lighting makes people more comfortable at night."

Cllr John Street said: I would prefer them dimmed rather than put out for long periods at night" while Cllr Ian Dalgarno said: "I don't disagree with the strategy. Some areas do not need so much light and it is an obsessive waste of money. We have got to have a good balance of health and safety for the public good."

Cllr Christina Turner said: "We have got to bring our standard of lighting into the 21st century and be able to afford the lighting we are providing for the benefit of all communities.

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