'We should be making our streets safer' - debate on street light cuts

Street lights in Suffolk are to be replaced with LED lights. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Street lights in Suffolk are to be replaced with LED lights. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: �Archant Photographic 2009

Residents in Sudbury and Stowmarket have shared their concerns about cuts to street lighting announced by Babergh and Mid Suffolk District council earlier this week.

Yesterday this paper reported that both councils, which also cover the towns of Hadleigh and Needham Market, have passed motions pledging to reduce the intensity of outdoor lights in certain locations and turn off street lights where they are no longer needed. 

In a joint statement Babergh and Mid Suffolk said the plans have been agreed as a way of reducing the harmful affects that street lights have on humans and wildlife.

Sudbury town centre. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sudbury town centre. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

One member of the community in Sudbury with concerns is Keith Grinsted, 69, who said: "At a time when people are feeling unsafe out at night and there have been horrendous incidents involving women we should be making our streets safer and more secure. Not turning lights off."

Mr Grinsted, who is a writer, added: "I'm an animal lover and strongly believe we should preserve wildlife but we also have a duty of care toward others.

"In the current climate, post Covid, when many are still uncomfortable getting out and about and there are so many reports of attacks and stalking, we need to care for one another. It seems a rather drastic and simplistic approach."

The town sign in Stowmarket

The town sign in Stowmarket - Credit: Archant

In the Stowmarket Community Noticeboard Facebook group, Rachel Scarff said: "I don't feel it's very safe walking home from work late at night in the pitch black! Especially with what has happened to girls and women in the past!"

Tony Collins, also from Stowmarket, shared his concerns about street lighting in Stowmarket. He said: "As a man, with my torch, I feel unsafe walking home after the lights go out, I can only imagine this feeling is exaggerated for the female population."

He added: "It seems completely daft to me that street lights are left on all night along major roads into town and at junctions for the ‘safety’ of car drivers, who of course have lights on their vehicles, but no thought is given to pedestrians in residential areas."

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Responding in the Stowmarket Facebook group, John Matthissen said: "This motion was primarily about the harm caused to wildlife, especially insects and bats, and to humans. It is about the colour spectrum, blue white being particularly harmful.

"The objective of this motion was not saving money, but trying to reverse a rapid decline in biodiversity."

You can share your views on this issue on the East Anglian Daily Times Facebook page.