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Spending on Fenland street lights up by tens of thousands of pounds

By Fenland Citizen Reporter

Fenland District Council spends tens of thousands of pounds more on street lights compared with five years ago, figures reveal.

Street lights. (2265914)
Street lights. (2265914)

Across England, however, councils are cutting lighting costs - which the Local Government Association says can "free up vital cash to protect under pressure services".

From April to December 2018, Fenland District Council spent £139,000 on street lights, according to financial data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

During the same period in 2013, the council spent £65,000, after the figures were adjusted for inflation. That means spending has doubled in real terms.

Spending on street lights in England has fallen by 11 per cent, with many local authorities slashing their budgets by 50 per cent or more.

The Local Government Association said reducing street lights and investing in dimming LEDs can lower energy costs in the long term.

An LGA spokesman said: "This saves taxpayer money, while improving the environment in a safe way.

“With local government facing a funding gap of £8 billion by 2025, reducing or dimming street lights can also free up vital cash to protect under pressure services such as child protection, adult social care, collecting bins and filling potholes.”

But, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents argues that money saved by switching off lights can come at the cost of personal safety.

It added that the risk of driving or walking in darkness "may ultimately lead to lives being lost" if councils are not careful.

Head of road safety, Nick Lloyd, said: "Councils should only reduce lighting if they are sure that it will not lead to an increase in accidents, or put personal safety at risk, and accident rates should be monitored.

“It is also important that councils do all they can to warn drivers, riders and walkers that lights are being switched off or dimmed, and give advice about what they should do to protect themselves.”

An MHCLG spokeswoman said: “It is for each local highway authority to decide what level of service they wish their street lighting network to deliver."

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