Exeter spends money switching off lights

April 26, 2012 12:54 PM

More council false economies put young people at risk in Exeter. Devon County Council (DCC) wants to turn off city lights to cut carbon emissions and save £280,000—but it’s going to cost them £1.7 million to implement. If that’s not bad enough, by turning off inner city lights, they’re endangering Exeter’s student population.

DCC has passed plans to switch off city lights just after midnight, between 12.30am and 5.30am. That’s just the time when many young people, including students, are heading back home after a night out. ‘The money being saved is at extreme detriment to safety,’ says a University of Exeter Students’ Guild spokesperson. ‘The way students move across the city late at night fit directly between the proposed hours. It only takes one person to walk down one street and for it to be dark and for something to happen. I think that is enough to keep a light on.’

A council representative says the £1.7 million answer is to install a web-based system of sensors that can be used to monitor city footfall and enable the 12,000 streetlights to be turned on and off accordingly. Hmmm, that sounds like an overly complicated and expensive solution to a problem caused by the council in the first place. Just keep the lights on!

Street lighting is one of the fundamental public services we pay council tax for. It seems our current age of austerity is constantly being used by local government as an excuse to cut back on the services we want, in order to pay for a bloated public sector we don’t want.

If the Exeter experiment works, the costly streetlight monitoring system will be installed across the county. In the meantime, the streets of Devon will go dark after midnight with a consequent impact on late night businesses and the safety of local residents.More council false economies put young people at risk in Exeter. Devon County Council (DCC) wants to turn off city lights to cut carbon emissions and save £280,000—but it’s going to cost them £1.7 million to implement. If that’s not bad enough, by turning off inner city lights, they’re endangering Exeter’s student population.

DCC has passed plans to switch off city lights just after midnight, between 12.30am and 5.30am. That’s just the time when many young people, including students, are heading back home after a night out. ‘The money being saved is at extreme detriment to safety,’ says a University of Exeter Students’ Guild spokesperson. ‘The way students move across the city late at night fit directly between the proposed hours. It only takes one person to walk down one street and for it to be dark and for something to happen. I think that is enough to keep a light on.’

A council representative says the £1.7 million answer is to install a web-based system of sensors that can be used to monitor city footfall and enable the 12,000 streetlights to be turned on and off accordingly. Hmmm, that sounds like an overly complicated and expensive solution to a problem caused by the council in the first place. Just keep the lights on!

Street lighting is one of the fundamental public services we pay council tax for. It seems our current age of austerity is constantly being used by local government as an excuse to cut back on the services we want, in order to pay for a bloated public sector we don’t want.

If the Exeter experiment works, the costly streetlight monitoring system will be installed across the county. In the meantime, the streets of Devon will go dark after midnight with a consequent impact on late night businesses and the safety of local residents.

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