Lancashire County Council have decided to cut the routine maintenance and testing cycle of Street Lighting by 50% right across Lancashire. The council has also decide in its wisdom to stop all night time inspections of Street Lighting, inspection will only take place during the day. The decision was taken at the Lancashire County Council, Cabinet Meeting 7th December 2017.
This will provide them with a saving of £2.161 million on top of the £500,000 which they cut out of road safety by stopping the renewal of white line and safety signs at the previous Cabinet Meeting. Within a month they have cut so far a total of £2.661 million out of the Highways Budget.
The report identifies that a reduction in maintenance and inspection may lead to more street lighting faults or in longer times to fix faults. If faults are not reported or go unfixed this could lead to some feelings of isolation or people being more reluctant to go out, the perception of safety or concerns of crime, anti-social behaviour generally and hate crime from protected characteristics groups. If this is widespread there is a risk that some of the Public Sector Equality Duty’s aims such as fostering good relations/community cohesion and advancing equality of opportunity/participating in public life might be affected in connection with this proposal.
Lancashire County Council are looking to re write the current policy to extend the time lights can be out in order to reduce the amount of confirmed complaints.
Cllr John Fillis, Labour Deputy Leader said “The Conservative claim they are spending more money on the roads, but the reality is they are cutting road safety and endangering local people. We are only 6 months in to the Conservative Administration and they have already cut the Highways Budget by £2.661 million and they still have to find over £60 million more this year, due to their austerity.”
“This is a completely false economy. Everyone knows that if you do not maintain equipment properly, not only will it break down more often, but the cost of repairing it goes up. Resulting in more and more Street Lights being shut down permanently as the funding will not be there to repair them. This would be in keeping with the Conservative previous budget proposal to remove one in three street lights.”
“The Conservatives recognise that this will result in more complaints but like the cut in the renewal of white lines, they do not seem to care. The risk to the public is not recognised within their administration.”
“The loss of lighting will not only affect road safety, it will also create a sense of unease amongst many members of the community. Especially the elderly and parents who worry about their children being out after dark.”