Crime fears over street lighting plans

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Villages across the area could be plunged into darkness as part of plans being drawn up by council bosses.

North Yorkshire County Council plans to turn off lights in Kellingley, Kirk Smeaton, Fairburn, Brotherton and Byram between the hours of midnight and 5am.

Campaigners fear the plans could lead to an increase in crime across the area.

Coun John McCartney, who represents the Osgoldcross ward on the council, said: “We, as councillors, put leaflets out to people telling them about the plans and I don’t think we’ve ever had such a big response.

“People have strong fears that it will lead to an increase in crime and, in particular, burglaries.”

The council has already completed the programme in Harrogate, Knaresborough, Scarborough, Hambleton and Richmondshire.

It has written to people outlining the proposals which are now under consultation for the next four weeks.

Options include turning lights off from midnight until 5am, dimming the lights or removing them altogether.

Coun McCartney added: “The areas they are now proposing to roll this scheme out into are predominately rural with open fields and already have poor lighting.

“People have strong concerns about these plans and I would advise them to contact the council during the consultation phase.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said: “Evidence from other areas in which similar measures have been introduced suggests that levels of crime and numbers of traffic accidents do not increase.

“We ensure that crime, disorder and road safety issues are considered before decisions are made. The scheme is monitored and we are committed to respond to any alert by the police to rises in relevant crime in areas where part-night lighting has been introduced.

“To date, the police have not asked for any lights to be reviewed.”

For more information call 0845 8727374 or visit www.northyorks.gov.uk