There’s apparently no link between turning off street lights at night – like in Northamptonshire – and an increase in crime or traffic accidents.
A study of data from 62 local authorities shows councils can safely reduce street lighting to save on energy costs and reduce carbon emissions.
Lead investigator Dr Phil Edwards from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which carried out the study, has told Connect FM that one reason might be drivers taking more care on roads which are poorly lit.
He also said; “An estimated £300m is spent every year on street lights in the UK. At a time when local authorities need to make spending cuts, our findings show that by carefully assessing risks, street lighting can be reduced without an increase in car crashes and crime.”
Researchers analysed 14 years of data from 62 local authorities across England and Wales who had implemented a range of reduced street light strategies, including switching lights off permanently, reducing the number of hours that lamps are switched on at night, dimming lights, and replacing traditional orange lamps with energy efficient white light LED lamps.
To assess road safety, the researchers looked at all roads in participating authorities, examining what type of street lighting was used and the number of traffic collisions that happened at night relative to the day during 2000-13.
There was no evidence of an association between reduced street lighting and night-time collisions across England and Wales.