Concern over Norwich light switch off
©Archant Photographic 2009
The part night-time switch- off of street lights around Norwich has come in for criticism again, after a councillor claimed it would create “heaven for opportunistic thieves”.
Norfolk County Council is in the midst of a programme to turn out 27,000 street lights across the county between midnight and 5am (1am and 6am in British Summer Time) to cut carbon emissions and save £167,000.
Street lights have already gone out in places such as Wymondham, without an increase in crime, but some of the 5,900 lights due to go out in Norwich are now being turned off as the nights get darker.
Bert Bremner, who represents Norwich’s University ward on the city and county council, said that would make it hard to follow safety advice from Norfolk police.
He pointed to advice offered to new students at the University of East Anglia where officers urged people to keep to well-lit paths rather than taking short-cuts.
And he also highlighted advice issued now the clocks are going back, where police said “good outdoor lighting can put off a burglar”, urging people to fit lights around their homes and garden and to be “good neighbours” by reporting suspicious behaviour.
But Labour councillor Mr Bremner said: “The advice is to watch out for suspicious people, but after midnight, people will not be able to see them.
“Unfortunately, Norfolk County Council is creating heaven for opportunist thieves – they are turning out most of the lights in the residential streets of Norwich just as the darker evenings draw nearer.”
But officers at the council said there had been thorough consultation over the switch-off, with police and councillors helping to identify areas which should be exempt from the policy –for instance if they were crime or accident hot spots or pedestrian alleys.
Spokesman John Birchall said: “The policy was agreed last year as a way of cutting energy use and carbon emissions and to save public money.
“It only applies to quiet residential streets with low levels of both traffic and recorded crime and the police have been consulted at every stage.”
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