Street Light Free Streets – A Light Bulb Moment?

Street Light Free Streets – A Light Bulb Moment?

A lot of the time we take street lights for granted because they automatically turn on when it starts to get dark. They guide us when out and about after dark both on foot and in a vehicle. They allow us to see potential hazards, but what would you do if your local council suddenly turned them off?

Would it bother you if you couldn’t see clearly where you were going down a dark street? It should, because with limited vision, you could trip over something and potentially injure yourself.

A recent article in The Sun newspaper reported that more councils could turn off street lights at night in order to save money. The report claims there is no evidence that says street lights prevent crime, accidents or road traffic accidents.

One town in particular where street lights have been turned off is Jaywick. Jaywick is a seaside village in Essex that lies on the North Sea Coast of England. Street lights in the village have been turned off in the dark after midnight for a year now and residents, along with their local councillor, are fighting to keep the lights on after a woman was recently attacked at night and left fighting for her life.

The scheme of turning lights off at night time is called Part-Night Lighting (PNL). Essex County Council set the timeframe of when street lights will be turned off to between 12am and 5am. In March of this year, Essex County Council reduced the time frame of when the street lights will be turned off by one hour to coincide with the start of British Summer Time. The time frame was amended to have the lights turned off from 1am to 5am.

In 2014, a survey of various local authorities indicated that approximately 750,000 lights in 81 council areas had switched off street lights in order to save £1million a year and reduce carbon emissions.

Other research suggests that road traffic accidents have risen by 20% in areas where street lights have been turned off. The AA said about well-lit country roads, 3.1% of accidents are fatal compared with 4.9% of accidents on unlit roads.

When it is dark, there is a higher risk of personal injury occurring. People can have car crashes more easily even with the use of headlights if the road is uneven or there is a sharp bend in the road. Animals walking the streets won’t be as easily seen by both pedestrians and drivers, which could cause accidents. Foreign object such as bags of rubbish left on the pavement, wheelie bins left out in the street, overgrown hedges and shrubs from peoples’ gardens or an uneven pavement can all cause potential accidents on a dark street.

Having street lights turned off at night may well save millions of pounds to spend elsewhere in the community, but those millions could quickly turn into compensation payments being awarded to people who may unfortunately injure themselves on the street at night in what would otherwise have been a well-lit area.

Claims Direct have an expert team of personal injury lawyers who specialise in public liability claims on a No win No Fee basis.

If you have been injured in an accident at night caused because there was a lack of street lighting, call us for a free consultation on freephone 0808 175 7900 or start your claim online and we’ll be happy to help you.