Lincolnshire County Council will complete work to switch-off or dim street lights in the next few months in a move that it says is “cost-effective” but residents have raised safety concerns.
By the time the project is complete 38,000 street lights will have switched to the ‘part-night’ system where lights are off between midnight and 6am.
A further 3,000 lights, away from built-up areas, have been identified for possible switch-off and 17,000 of the county’s lights have been swapped for low energy LED ones which can be dimmed.
The council is currently in phase eight in Boston, Gosberton and Sutton St James, and before March will complete the project in Skegness and Mablethorpe.
The work has already been carried out in Stamford and Bourne and the Mercury has previously been contacted by a number of residents who said the part-night system was “dangerous”.
The council said the work would save £1.7m from its annual £5m street lighting budget.
The work that has already taken place has reduced the amount of electricity used by street lights by 25 per cent, equating to savings of £700,000 per year.
The council’s executive member for highways and transport Richard Davies said: “The council’s budget has been cut by more than £100m over the last few years, and we have a further estimated budget shortfall of £57m for next year.
“We simply can’t afford to do everything we’ve done in the past.
“Streetlights are expensive, and, frankly, many of them do not need to be on during the small hours of the morning – all they are doing is burning taxpayers’ money.
“The evidence shows that, by turning these lights off at times when there is less traffic, we can save money without affecting the majority of road users. And by saving money in this way, we can protect other vital areas, like the pothole budget.
“Of course, public safety remains an overriding concern, so at every location, we’ll give careful consideration to the effects of any reduction in lighting. In some places, changes won’t be appropriate, so we’ll keep things as they are.”