Norwich street lighting fears made clear to shadow minister
09:42 10 November 2012
Families worried about street lighting being switched off have raised concerns with a shadow minister who has visited the city.
Norfolk County Council is turning off lights between midnight and 5am, or from 1am to 6am in the summer, as part of a scheme to cut energy costs by £167,000 and reduce carbon emissions.
The county-wide programme has seen 12,600 street lights changed so far, including the whole of Norwich, Cringleford, Costessey and Wymondham.
Kate Green MP, Labour’s shadow minister for equalities, visited Rosebery Road in Norwich yesterday where she listened to people’s concerns. She said turning lights back on equated to a “tiny amount of money” but was a “very big issue for personal safety”.
David Coe, 69, a retired sheet metal worker, who has lived on Rosebery Road for more than 30 years, said: “We really need the light because of the trees. We get a little bit of vandalism and paint spraying, nothing serious, but it happens.
“If the street lights were on it would keep people’s minds at rest.”
Jess Asato, Norwich North Labour parliamentary candidate, and Steve Morphew, Labour’s police and crime commissioner candidate for Norfolk, also met people in the area.
Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for planning and transportation, said: “Street lights have only been converted to part night lighting on quiet residential streets where there is little traffic and a low crime rate. The views of the police – who have been consulted in every case – have always been key to decisions on which streets are suitable.
“There are also a number of exemptions, including lights on remote footpaths or pedestrian alleyways.
“In parts of Norfolk, such as Wymondham, where they have been converted for over a year, there is no evidence of any increase in crime, but this will continue to be monitored by the police. Once complete, the change to part night lighting on suitable streets will save £167,000 a year in energy costs and cut carbon emissions.”
A police spokesman said there was “little or no evidence” to suggest an increase in crime as a result of lights being turned off.