E&E Letters | Turning off every other street light is not the answer

18 April 2014

Reader’s Letter: Turning off every other street light is not the answer

I note in your report “ Turning off Exeter’s street lights risks lives, The AA warn ” (published on-line) you quote one local councillor who said
“Elsewhere they switch off every other light and I understand that that works very well.”
In the run-up to the lights being switched off in Cowick (and Alphington) on 1st April 2014, I and many other City and  County cllrs had meetings with both Devon County Council Street Lighting officers and senior officers of the neighbourhood policing teams.
Both sets of officers were adamant that the idea of switching off alternate street lights was a non-starter as this would make our roads and pavements less safe.
Implementing this idea would cause a distracting and disturbing flashing strobe effect for car drivers and could lead to many more road traffic incidents during the periods this version of part-night street lighting was in operation.
For pedestrians, the on-off arrangement would give contrasting areas of light and dark. The eye in a short period of time can get used to complete darkness, but this would not happen with the suggested arrangement of alternate lights being switched off, The police were also concerned that the shadows are an ideal place for those up to no good to lurk in.
Rather than increase fears by such statements, I hope that local cllrs will follow the lead of myself and the rest the Labour team in Cowick who have used their regular Ward newsletters  and various forms of social media to inform their residents of Devon County Council’s plans to switch-off street lights in their area between the hours of 00:30 and 05:30.
By talking to people on their doorsteps, here in Cowick we have been able to hear the fears and concerns over  – but more often their approval of – part-night street lighting.
We will continue to listen to residents, inform them of the advantages and possible disadvantages of the policy, to have a dialogue with all the various agencies and look forward to the formal review of the PNSL policy in Cowick in 6 months time.

What we will not do is use uninformed statements to cause increased worry among our residents.

Yours faithfully
Paul Bull
Exeter City Councillor for Cowick

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