Birmingham & Black Country

Dudley street lights switch off 'to save £100,000'

Street light (generic)
Image caption Dudley council spends £2m a year on street lighting

Street lights are to be switched off to save money under plans being considered by a West Midlands local authority.

Dudley Borough Council currently runs 32,000 lights but said it hoped to save more than £100,000 a year by turning off lamps "in rural areas" from 2016.

It said it had not decided exactly which roads would be affected but local people would be consulted.

Neighbourhood Watch officials have claimed switching off the lights would see crime increase.

The authority said it had fitted 8,000 lamps with energy-saving bulbs to save money and it had already trialled dimming the lights between midnight and 06:00 GMT since December.

It currently spends £2m a year on street lighting.

The council needs to make cuts of £60m over the next three years, it said.

'Feelings of safety'

Kurshid Ahmed, the Labour cabinet member for transport, said: "The lights will only be switched off for part of the time when they're not necessarily needed and mainly in rural areas where it won't affect crime or any other issues.

"Whatever action we take will be carefully monitored, and lights not just switched off for the sake of it."

Neighbourhood Watch chairman Jim Madden said: "I understand councils do have to save money but levels of street lighting have a significant impact on people's feelings of safety.

"Most criminals are cowards. They don't want to be identified so they're more likely to go to areas where they won't be seen than an area where there's the possibility they will be spotted."

Dudley council will make a decision on the plan on 3 March.

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