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Security systems 'crucial' as councils turn off street lights

Security systems 'crucial' as councils turn off street lights

Folkestone Town Council has committed to installing a security system to help ensure the area remains safe as streetlights are turned off.

As part of Kent County Council's Safe and Sensible Street Lighting campaign, large numbers of lights across the region are being switched off, leaving residents concerned regarding the safety of their properties and vehicles.

Following a meeting on Wednesday (May 14th), the local council has now confirmed it is beginning the process of seeking out a suitable system, the Folkestone Herald reports.

Shepway District Council has awarded a grant of £145,000 to be used toward the cost of installation, while local councillors have agreed to set aside £50,000 per year towards the maintenance of the cameras - some of which are expected to be mobile.

Councillor Brian Copping said: "It’s even more crucial we get this right because streets are being plunged into darkness, much to the angst of local residents."

According to figures published by Labour shadow communities and local government secretary Hilary Benn, two-thirds of council's had made the decision to turn off or dim streetlights by November last year.

Results of a survey of local authorities suggested around 750,000 lights across 81 districts had been switched off or set to a lower level of brightness.

This comes after the government encouraged councils to take such action where possible in an effort to save money and reduce carbon emissions.

However, the scheme has come under strong criticism, with many arguing the move had led to an increased "fear factor" among residents, while there is also the possibility of more road accidents in underlit areas - leading to The AA and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents to call for crime and accident rates to be closely monitored in affected areas.

A spokesman for the government said: "This should be a local decision by elected local councillors, reflecting local circumstances - especially in relation to any concerns about crime. But not every neighbourhood wants street lighting - councils should listen to the views of local residents."

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