Should Street Lights Be Turned Off?

3 March 2010, 05:00 | Updated: 4 March 2010, 06:22

Bedford Borough Council are considering turning off street lighting overnight in a bid to save money and energy.

In a report presented to the council yesterday (Tuesday 2 March), it emerged that more than 60% of the current street lighting stock is over 20 years old.  The lights need to be replaced every 25-40 years, and the cost of replacing them over the next 20 years would be £17m.

So now the council are considering different options to help them save money - one of which is to turn off street lighting between midnight and 6am.

"We're looking at perhaps reducing the number of hours that we're using our street lights because that'll save money and it'll mean we can put more money in to the lighting stock, rather than on just keeping them lit", said Councillor Charles Royden, porfolio holder for Transport and Environment at Bedford Borough Council.

"People have been saying to me, do we really need our lights on in some of our rural villages between, say midnight and 6 o'clock in the morning?  There are also ways in which we can trim the street lighting, so instead of coming at 8, it could perhaps come on at ten past, so just a little bit later coming on and a bit earlier switching off."

You can listen to Mathew Williams' full interview with Councillor Royden by clicking here...

The council report also highlighted the fact that new developments around the Borough are increasing the number of street lights, but there has been no corresponding increase in maintenance budgets.

Now officers at the council want to know what residents think about the ideas.  You can let us know your views by filling in the form below...


Here's what you've been telling us:

"Turning them off at night completely is madness,they are there for peoples safety at night and without them think of the amount of attacks and muggings that would happen. Turn them on and off 10 minutes later or earlier would be a much better idea." Debbie Cox


"Turning off streetlights just to save money is a short term unthought through, policy, that does not take into account any increase in the cost of crime and safety. Our own company is one of the most foremost developers in the World - of new LED Solid State technology. We now have the ability to create good ambient LED lighting that not only gives out a better light, but also cuts the energy costs by nearly 80% and at the same time virtually eliminates maintainance." Alistair Frary


"Well if they do that then i want to know will they put on free mini buses to pick me up after i finish my late shifts! there are enough rape cases going on with the lights operating now!" Elaine Powner