'We'll never turn the lights out after midnight' - Wakefield Council leader

The leader of Wakefield Council has said the local authority "would never switch the streetlights off", in response to public safety concerns.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 12:29 pm

New LED bulbs have been installed in streetlights across the district over the last couple of years, in a move to reduce the council's carbon footprint and cut costs.

But while some have welcomed the initiative, others have suggested the lights are now too dim at night.

The council's promised to listen to people's concerns and says it wants to find a "balance" between stopping lights from being intrusively bright and keeping people safe.

The council insists it won't consider late-night blackouts.

Neighbouring Leeds moved to a "smart" lighting system in 2019, which occasionally sees lights turned off between midnight and 5.30am if an area is devoid of pedestrians at that time.

Leeds City Council said then that there was "no evidence dark streets lead to more crime".

But speaking on an online Q&A session on Tuesday, Wakefield Council leader Denise Jeffery expressed a different view.

Asked about the issue, she responded: "It's very important we do have street lights.

Coun Jeffery said there was a balance to be struck with regard to the brightness of the lights.

"I know some of our neighbouring authorities switch lights off at midnight.

"I'd never advocate doing that.

"People go to work at different times and people need the lights.

"And that's why we devised this scheme with LEDs, which allows us to dim the lights.

"We get a lot of complaints from people who say the lights are too bright at night and shining through their windows, so it's a balance.

"But I'd like to assure people we'd never switch the lights off for any period of time, like they do in other local authorities."

Senior councillor Michael Graham, who represents the Wakefield West ward, said he recognised public opinion was split over the issue.

He said: "I've had a lot of people tell me they love the new lights.

"But some, particularly those who live on quite wide roads where the lights hang over the road rather than the footway, have said it's quite dark when they're walking at night.

"I think if that's the case for you and it is too dark, get in touch with the council and see what we can do."

Local Democracy Reporting Service