Powys Council and others, sadly, have taken the drastic step of turning street lights off during the night to save money as well as energy. Despite the best of intentions, a story in the Daily Express today – not online – reveals some unfortunate unintended consequences.
The effects of the scheme were felt by disabled Powys resident Audrey Powell who said the switch-off leaves her too afraid to go out of an evening. She has good reason too as the article also notes that when a trial switch-off was piloted in Essex, vandals caused £2,000 worth of damage in a vandalism spree.
Fear of crime and anti social behaviour are already rife among the vulnerable that a light switch-off can only add to the anxiety. It’s akin to giving residents a curfew. When the lights go off, you go home. But as usual the law abiding public obey the law. How are people, especially in rural areas like Powys, expected to spot criminal behaviour or identify the perpetrators of anti social behaviour?
Please do write to the leader of Powys Council, Cllr E. Michael Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org), and ask him to reconsider the switch off. The trial has been completed and it’s left the most vulnerable afraid to leave their homes. Local government is about basic service delivery, the lights, bins and parks. Urge Cllr. Jones to cut back on their bureaucracy and waste - as we set out in our Ten Per Cent Challenge - and to turn the lights back on in Powys.