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Reader letter: Bright lights don't make us safer so we should turn them off in Norwich overnight

PUBLISHED: 13:40 30 November 2016

Heathgate street lights in Norwich Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Heathgate street lights in Norwich Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

We cannot control the clouds, which deprived some of us of the chance to see the recent supermoon, but turning off some of our street lights at least some of the time does give those of us who live in the city a better chance of appreciating the glories of the night sky.

The street lighting changes in Norwich are the best example I can imagine of an action which saves money, reduces light pollution and carbon emissions, does no harm, and has brought real benefits to some.

In my street, the sodium lights which previously bathed everyone and everything in a vile orange glow throughout the hours of darkness have been replaced by much more pleasant white ones, and for at least part of the night they are off altogether, offering a chance of enjoying a better view of the changing skies above us.

Last year, for example, in the early hours of September 28, I hauled myself out of bed in the hope of seeing the lunar eclipse.

What a sight! A huge, dark, peachy moon hanging in a backdrop of glittering stars, unspoilt by nearby street-lights.

It wasunforgettable.

Some people assert that women are safer, and feel safer, at night in well-lit areas.

I often walk alone, including after dark and occasionally after midnight, and I disagree on both counts.

If this is referring to the risk of random personal attack, I do not see how a brighter light is of any help, as such incidents are rare, but occur in daylight, too; if itis referring tothe risk of tripping on an unseen hazard, a torch is of more help than a street light, as it can be directed where one is walking.

If there are people who are convinced that they are less safe under the current lighting regime when out in the early hours, I do hope they will consider the evidence to the contrary.

Perhaps, too, householders and the owners of commercial premises who currently leave external lights burning all night might follow the council’s example, and think about reducing the number of lights or the period for which they are left on, and also readjust over-sensitive security lights which are triggered by people walking on adjacent roads or pavements.

Susan Maddock, Corie Road, Norwich.

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