Concerns over Dorset street light changes

Concerns have been raised by some residents in Dorset over changes to the county's street lighting.

Many street lights across the county switch off between midnight and 05:30.

In areas of Bournemouth and Poole new low-energy LED lights are replacing sodium bulbs in a bid to save cash and electricity.

Some people say the new bulbs are too bright and are affecting their sleep, others have safety concerns because of the lack of overnight lighting.

Dorset County Council said lights have only been switched off in areas where there are no significant concerns over road safety and crime.

A £7m project is under way to upgrade Bournemouth's 16,500 street lights with LEDs in a bid to save the borough council more than £30m over 20 years.

Similarly in Poole, the borough council has approved £10m plans to replace about 17,500 lights over the next six years with LEDs, which it hopes will save about £20m over the next 30 years.

'Skewiff' body clock

Bournemouth-based personal trainer, Alison Lynch, said she has had to relocate her outdoor running sessions to Christchurch because of the new street lights.

She said although they are bright there are "pools of darkness" between them where you cannot see the ground properly which make it unsafe for running.

Bournemouth resident Michael Witherden said he has had suffered with "sleep deprivation" since LED lights were installed outside his home.

"Consequently your body clock goes all skewiff and you don't know whether it's morning, noon or night," he said.

He said he has resorted to blocking the window with a blanket, but added "even then you can still see a blue glimmer of light coming through".

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