Leeds City Council’s decision to start switching off some street lights in a bid to cut costs and carbon emissions has sparked a fierce debate on social media sites.
Some street lights in Garforth and Swillington were due to be switched off last night at the start of a three-year programme.
It is proposed that 8,000 of the city’s 92,000 street lights will be turned off between midnight and 5.30am.
The move is designed to save Leeds City Council £1.3m over 10 years and reduce the street lighting carbon emissions by 4.7 per cent a year.
Dozens of residents have posted comments on the YEP’s Facebook page after the story was reported on Monday.
Gemma Thornley wrote: “I thought the point in having street lights are for safety reasons. A good opportunity for a lot of crime if they are switched off.”
Jacquie Ainsley-Stringer commented: “Aren’t we paying our council tax so that we can have street lights to feel safe and cut down on crime? Are we getting a rebate on the council tax then?”
Sean Matthews wrote: “It’s a potential massive money saver and a good idea imo [in my opinion]. Way too much electricity waste goes on today.”
The next phase of the street light switch off is planned in Adel and Wharfedale and Otley and Yeadon. The team will then work inwards until they reach the city centre, which will not be affected.
Phase one will see about 3,250 lights on main traffic roads being switch off, with phase two turning off 4,750 lights on residential streets.
Coun Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the economy and development, said: “While the primary reason for doing this is to save money and help cut carbon emissions, we would like to stress that road safety and the impact on crime remains of the utmost importance. The assessments over which lights can be switched off and which can’t have been thorough and conducted by a team effort involving the judgements of all key stakeholders as well as the feedback received from the public.
“We hope people will not really notice much of a difference, but it is important to say we do have the flexibility to turn the lights back on again if major problems arise; we do hope though that will not be necessary.”