Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds City Council urged to turn street lights back on

Street lights switched off at night to save money should be turned back on after the council had a £6.5m windfall, it has been claimed.

Lighting in some areas of Leeds has been turned off from midnight until 05:30 daily since 2013.

Liberal Democrat leader Stewart Golton believes the cash boost should be used to reverse the decision and invest in energy saving LED lights.

But Labour councillor Richard Lewis said the idea was "not an option".

Leeds City Council said in 2013 switching off streets lights overnight could save up to £1.3m over 10 years and cut carbon emissions.

'Dark streets'

However, in December, the council received £6.5m after contractor Tay Valley Lighting failed to meet a number of performance standards, sparking a new debate.

Mr Golton told BBC Radio Leeds: "If [the council] really did take this decision with a heavy heart then they should put their hand in their pockets, which are now £6m bigger, and actually use that money to pay for street lights.

"People do not want to be on dark streets late at night, especially if they are women."

Street lights are switched off in areas including Rothwell, Otley and Yeadon.

The council has had to save £248m since 2010 and needs to save a further £76m by 2016.

Mr Lewis said: "[The money] won't go on street lighting. There's a council-wide financial problem and that money has to be given to help that. It's not ring-fenced."

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