Safety concerns as lights go out in Trowbridge

This Is Wiltshire: Valerie and Tony Barber with their son Peter, now carry torches so they can use the streets in safety once the lights go out Valerie and Tony Barber with their son Peter, now carry torches so they can use the streets in safety once the lights go out

Residents who have been plunged into darkness at night are not happy about the new street lighting arrangements across Trowbridge.

A decision to switch off the lights in parts of the town between midnight and 5.30am came into effect three weeks ago, in a bid for Wiltshire Council to save money and reduce its carbon footprint.

Ian Ford, 55, has lived on the Broadmead estate for 30 years and runs a garage in the area. He said: “Our particular road is a cul-de-sac. In terms of security it is easy pickings for anybody.

“I understand they need to save money. Why can’t they turn off every two to three lights so the whole road has some light down it?”

Clifford Moye, a lorry driver from Studley Green, said: “We first thought it was a power cut.

“I have lived here for 20 years. It has always been a bit anti-social but with the dark nights, I am concerned it will increase.

Retired Tony and Valerie Barber live in Baydon Close, off Wiltshire Drive.

Mr Barber said: “Making savings by switching off the lighting in residential area is a bad move. The lights in Bradley Road as far as I know have not been affected. Why don’t they turn off some of the lights there?” Mrs Barber added: “The first three lights in Wiltshire Drive are on but this part isn’t lit and it is pitch black at night.”

Nigel Urch, of Wiltshire Drive, said it was now too dark to park his car in his garage down the road when the street lights had gone out.

He said: “A neighbour had his wing mirror knocked off on Friday and Saturday night.

“If you drive through Trowbridge there are a lot of people about. These routes will now be totally black. At that time of morning there could be drunk drivers. Someone is going to get killed.”

Wiltshire and Trowbridge Councillor Graham Payne said: “We have had a lot of complaints about the street lights going out.

The vast majority of people that have complained to me have concerns about the possible increase in crime levels such as burglary and car damage.”

A council spokesman said: “We have received feedback from people pleased to see the changes, while others have shared their concerns. Where there are safety issues we have put lights back on. There will also be a full review in six months’ time.”

Comments (16)

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6:39pm Fri 8 Aug 14

Rural Mike says...

I was a Special Constable in the the Met Police in the seventies. In London most street lights went out at 1 AM and stayed off until 5.30 AM if it was still dark (winter months mainly). Some lights, but not all, were left on at junctions and known accident black spots only.
When they started leaving the ;ights on all night there was no decrease in accidents nor incidents involving a reportable crime or violence.
When they started turning them off again at nioght there was no increase in accidents nor or reportable crime or violence.
Street lights left on may make some residents feel safer but that is not born out by the data.
With relatively few vehicles using road in the small hours, I feel it is wasteful to leave lights on burning energy unnecessarily.
I was a Special Constable in the the Met Police in the seventies. In London most street lights went out at 1 AM and stayed off until 5.30 AM if it was still dark (winter months mainly). Some lights, but not all, were left on at junctions and known accident black spots only. When they started leaving the ;ights on all night there was no decrease in accidents nor incidents involving a reportable crime or violence. When they started turning them off again at nioght there was no increase in accidents nor or reportable crime or violence. Street lights left on may make some residents feel safer but that is not born out by the data. With relatively few vehicles using road in the small hours, I feel it is wasteful to leave lights on burning energy unnecessarily. Rural Mike
  • Score: 1

8:11pm Fri 8 Aug 14

beetawix says...

Rural Mike tells us that darker Trowbridge streets will not afffect safety ,using 40 year old data from 1970s London streets .
That is not very scientific.
Rural Mike tells us that darker Trowbridge streets will not afffect safety ,using 40 year old data from 1970s London streets . That is not very scientific. beetawix
  • Score: 5

8:49pm Fri 8 Aug 14

james smyth says...

What on earth are these people doing out walking at between midnight and 5.30 am? Why are they not tucked up in bed?
Why should other council tax payers subsidise their nocturnal activities ?
What on earth are these people doing out walking at between midnight and 5.30 am? Why are they not tucked up in bed? Why should other council tax payers subsidise their nocturnal activities ? james smyth
  • Score: 18

12:48am Sat 9 Aug 14

Mrs Donnyfly says...

The report is full of "this might happen" or "that could happen" worries. Has anything bad actually happened yet since the light went out?
The report is full of "this might happen" or "that could happen" worries. Has anything bad actually happened yet since the light went out? Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: 10

10:17am Sat 9 Aug 14

devilstail says...

“If you drive through Trowbridge there are a lot of people about. These routes will now be totally black. At that time of morning there could be drunk drivers. Someone is going to get killed.”

That statement just goes to show the idiocy of people when commenting on Road Safety. People shouldn't be drinking and driving full stop.

I take it that these people don't have lights on their cars then! Maybe people should try slowing down and learn to operate their vehicle correctly i.e in accordance with the Highway Code and not some mythical rules they have made up themselves.

Well done to Wiltshire Council, lets see more lights out less energy use, less cost to the taxpayer, less light pollution.

Too the doom mongers out there I am sure you could go and buy a torch from a shop.
“If you drive through Trowbridge there are a lot of people about. These routes will now be totally black. At that time of morning there could be drunk drivers. Someone is going to get killed.” That statement just goes to show the idiocy of people when commenting on Road Safety. People shouldn't be drinking and driving full stop. I take it that these people don't have lights on their cars then! Maybe people should try slowing down and learn to operate their vehicle correctly i.e in accordance with the Highway Code and not some mythical rules they have made up themselves. Well done to Wiltshire Council, lets see more lights out less energy use, less cost to the taxpayer, less light pollution. Too the doom mongers out there I am sure you could go and buy a torch from a shop. devilstail
  • Score: 10

10:19am Sat 9 Aug 14

Mrs Donnyfly says...

Nigel Urch, of Wiltshire Drive, said it was now too dark to park his car in his garage down the road when the street lights had gone out.


I would like to know where Mr Urch gets his sense of entitlement from that he should be able to park his car whilst being well lit. As for being actually able to park his car in the dark, is his vehicle not equipped with headlights?
Nigel Urch, of Wiltshire Drive, said it was now too dark to park his car in his garage down the road when the street lights had gone out. I would like to know where Mr Urch gets his sense of entitlement from that he should be able to park his car whilst being well lit. As for being actually able to park his car in the dark, is his vehicle not equipped with headlights? Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: 14

12:00pm Sat 9 Aug 14

fuelboss says...

I have mixed feelings regarding this issue. There could a case where darkness could encourage crime but on the other hand properties and vehicles previously on display throughout the night might actually be more of a target for crime.

Taking the Croft area of Trowbridge for example, there are 3 lamps on out of a total of 17. Now I think this is going too far. I spoke with Atkins Global who are responsible for the lighting and I am informed that they can switch lights on/off and also dim the lighting. Whether dimming is possible with the current type of lamp I am unsure but maybe that should be given more consideration. If the public wish to air their views then email streetlightinginWilt
shire@atkinsglobal.c
om.

With regard to Trowbridge - as pubs, bars and clubs are open very late then I would have thought that a switch off, if thats what WCC wants, should take place at 1am as this does give the opportunity for younger people in particular to walk home with a greater feeling of safety. Additionally, there are many people who come home late from a night out and need to take the dog for a walk around the block. With lights out how can they see where they are walking and what they are walking on and how safe do they feel. Perhaps on a Friday and Saturday night they could go off at a later time rather than midnight as surely more pedestrians may be out late on the weekends.

While I fully understand that Councils do not have a statutory duty to provide street lighting it has for many years been taken for granted and of course we have come to expect well lit streets, so to now see areas in complete darkness has come as a shock to many people. Personally I believe in a reduction either by way of turning off lights or dimming but not to the extent that they have done in many areas of this town.
I have mixed feelings regarding this issue. There could a case where darkness could encourage crime but on the other hand properties and vehicles previously on display throughout the night might actually be more of a target for crime. Taking the Croft area of Trowbridge for example, there are 3 lamps on out of a total of 17. Now I think this is going too far. I spoke with Atkins Global who are responsible for the lighting and I am informed that they can switch lights on/off and also dim the lighting. Whether dimming is possible with the current type of lamp I am unsure but maybe that should be given more consideration. If the public wish to air their views then email streetlightinginWilt shire@atkinsglobal.c om. With regard to Trowbridge - as pubs, bars and clubs are open very late then I would have thought that a switch off, if thats what WCC wants, should take place at 1am as this does give the opportunity for younger people in particular to walk home with a greater feeling of safety. Additionally, there are many people who come home late from a night out and need to take the dog for a walk around the block. With lights out how can they see where they are walking and what they are walking on and how safe do they feel. Perhaps on a Friday and Saturday night they could go off at a later time rather than midnight as surely more pedestrians may be out late on the weekends. While I fully understand that Councils do not have a statutory duty to provide street lighting it has for many years been taken for granted and of course we have come to expect well lit streets, so to now see areas in complete darkness has come as a shock to many people. Personally I believe in a reduction either by way of turning off lights or dimming but not to the extent that they have done in many areas of this town. fuelboss
  • Score: -1

12:35pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Grumpyoldgit99 says...

I am thoroughly in favour with the street lights being switched off at night. They are far too bright and light up the place like a Christmas tree all through the night. I live in a small cul-de-sac and It is ridiculous that I could read a book in my front garden by the street lights at three in the morning. In the days of my youth the lights of Chippenham were switched off a little after 10:30 as often they were going off if I was a little slow coming home from the pub. There seems little point lighting up residential areas when people are home for the night. There clearly is an expense and the cost must be falling on council tax payers
I am thoroughly in favour with the street lights being switched off at night. They are far too bright and light up the place like a Christmas tree all through the night. I live in a small cul-de-sac and It is ridiculous that I could read a book in my front garden by the street lights at three in the morning. In the days of my youth the lights of Chippenham were switched off a little after 10:30 as often they were going off if I was a little slow coming home from the pub. There seems little point lighting up residential areas when people are home for the night. There clearly is an expense and the cost must be falling on council tax payers Grumpyoldgit99
  • Score: 10

8:21pm Sat 9 Aug 14

beetawix says...

'There clearly is an expense and the cost must be falling on council tax payers' said Grumpyoldgit99.

True, and you can be sure it won't fall off the council taxpayer once savings are made.
'There clearly is an expense and the cost must be falling on council tax payers' said Grumpyoldgit99. True, and you can be sure it won't fall off the council taxpayer once savings are made. beetawix
  • Score: 7

3:08pm Mon 11 Aug 14

beetawix says...

Mrs Donnyfly wrote:
Nigel Urch, of Wiltshire Drive, said it was now too dark to park his car in his garage down the road when the street lights had gone out.


I would like to know where Mr Urch gets his sense of entitlement from that he should be able to park his car whilst being well lit. As for being actually able to park his car in the dark, is his vehicle not equipped with headlights?
I am also puzzled as to how Mr Urch concludes as follows.
neighbour's wing mirror broken -------> there could be drunk drivers
---------> someone IS going to get killed
[quote][p][bold]Mrs Donnyfly[/bold] wrote: Nigel Urch, of Wiltshire Drive, said it was now too dark to park his car in his garage down the road when the street lights had gone out. I would like to know where Mr Urch gets his sense of entitlement from that he should be able to park his car whilst being well lit. As for being actually able to park his car in the dark, is his vehicle not equipped with headlights?[/p][/quote]I am also puzzled as to how Mr Urch concludes as follows. neighbour's wing mirror broken -------> there could be drunk drivers ---------> someone IS going to get killed beetawix
  • Score: 3

7:52pm Mon 11 Aug 14

devilstail says...

Turning the lights of as a road safety issue is a mute point, most drivers can't see passed their windscreen anyway 😉
Turning the lights of as a road safety issue is a mute point, most drivers can't see passed their windscreen anyway 😉 devilstail
  • Score: 0

11:12am Tue 12 Aug 14

AuntieNimby says...

How about you residents that are up all night, getting torches or writing to the council and saying you will pay more council tax to keep the lights on all night?
How about you residents that are up all night, getting torches or writing to the council and saying you will pay more council tax to keep the lights on all night? AuntieNimby
  • Score: 8

12:56pm Tue 12 Aug 14

beetawix says...

devilstail wrote:
Turning the lights of as a road safety issue is a mute point, most drivers can't see passed their windscreen anyway 😉
Most drivers?
How many is that and could you show us the statistics and the method by which the data was obtained?
Incidentally I would like to point out corrections for three incorrect spellings for your future reference.

lights off
moot point
see past

also should be their windscreens - they have one each.
[quote][p][bold]devilstail[/bold] wrote: Turning the lights of as a road safety issue is a mute point, most drivers can't see passed their windscreen anyway 😉[/p][/quote]Most drivers? How many is that and could you show us the statistics and the method by which the data was obtained? Incidentally I would like to point out corrections for three incorrect spellings for your future reference. lights off moot point see past also should be their windscreens - they have one each. beetawix
  • Score: 1

2:47pm Wed 13 Aug 14

ChrisAuckland says...

This is a really interesting debate. Our light switches off at midnight and I think it's brilliant. I'm really confused as to safety concerns but those points do need to be taken on board.

As a side note, although Rural Mike was heavily criticised at the start of these comments, he's actually right. In 2007 a trail was run in Essex to turn off suburban street lights between midnight and 5.30am. Police figures indicated that crime almost halved in places between 2006/7 (street lights on) and 2007/8 (lights off). More conservatively, a 1991 Government report (The Influence of Street Lighting on Crime and the Fear of Crime) found that there was no evidence to support the hypothesis hat improved street lighting reduced crime or reports of crime. Later, a Home Office report further concluded that that lighting has no effect on crime, and in 2003 the British Journal of Criminology produced a report stating that lighting does not deter criminals in any way.

There is also significant data from America and elsewhere. For example, a 2000 report by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority found that crime increased by 21% when more substantial street lighting was introduced in urban alleyways, direct quote - "These findings indicate that, during the study period, there did not appear to be a suppression effect on crime as a result of increased alley lighting. In fact, it appears that with the increased lighting came an increase in the number of crimes reported to the Chicago Police Department."

I can provide links to these reports where appropriate.

Remember, if the light is on, the criminals can see inside your car much better then if the light is off. Young people tend to congregate in areas of higher density lighting (they need to see each other to talk to each other). People for a long time have got used to the lights being on, and with change comes a fear of what that change will bring. I don't believe people have anything to worry about however.

This project can save money, reduce carbon emissions, improve sleep quality and have a profound effect on light pollution. Some people may have to take more care (the gentleman who struggled to park his car, for example), but I suspect that few people are active during the time period that these lights are off for anyway. Why not just give it a chance?
This is a really interesting debate. Our light switches off at midnight and I think it's brilliant. I'm really confused as to safety concerns but those points do need to be taken on board. As a side note, although Rural Mike was heavily criticised at the start of these comments, he's actually right. In 2007 a trail was run in Essex to turn off suburban street lights between midnight and 5.30am. Police figures indicated that crime almost halved in places between 2006/7 (street lights on) and 2007/8 (lights off). More conservatively, a 1991 Government report (The Influence of Street Lighting on Crime and the Fear of Crime) found that there was no evidence to support the hypothesis hat improved street lighting reduced crime or reports of crime. Later, a Home Office report further concluded that that lighting has no effect on crime, and in 2003 the British Journal of Criminology produced a report stating that lighting does not deter criminals in any way. There is also significant data from America and elsewhere. For example, a 2000 report by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority found that crime increased by 21% when more substantial street lighting was introduced in urban alleyways, direct quote - "These findings indicate that, during the study period, there did not appear to be a suppression effect on crime as a result of increased alley lighting. In fact, it appears that with the increased lighting came an increase in the number of crimes reported to the Chicago Police Department." I can provide links to these reports where appropriate. Remember, if the light is on, the criminals can see inside your car much better then if the light is off. Young people tend to congregate in areas of higher density lighting (they need to see each other to talk to each other). People for a long time have got used to the lights being on, and with change comes a fear of what that change will bring. I don't believe people have anything to worry about however. This project can save money, reduce carbon emissions, improve sleep quality and have a profound effect on light pollution. Some people may have to take more care (the gentleman who struggled to park his car, for example), but I suspect that few people are active during the time period that these lights are off for anyway. Why not just give it a chance? ChrisAuckland
  • Score: 4

10:42pm Wed 13 Aug 14

beetawix says...

"Heavily criticised" is a weighty exaggeration.

You say ruralmike is right and proceed to cite more examples of survey data. This does not alter the fact tha none of this data is relevant.
It was acquired in different geographic and demographic conditions and in different years.
"Heavily criticised" is a weighty exaggeration. You say ruralmike is right and proceed to cite more examples of survey data. This does not alter the fact tha none of this data is relevant. It was acquired in different geographic and demographic conditions and in different years. beetawix
  • Score: -1

3:46pm Sat 23 Aug 14

tiberius32ad says...

Personally I applaud the decision and review period from Wilts Council.

When I was a kid in the 80s I remember street lamps being switched off like this. Personally I like the dark as it encourages sleeping. Something that I wish to do at night in order to get ready for a productive work day.

Street lamps in the main, are not there to specifically light people's doors or driveways. Residents have every right to install a light on their property if they wish to see their own paths and doorways or feel like they need 150watts blazing a trail for every cat or hedgehog crossing their path.

Now that the highways are replacing the lamp sensors with modern remotely controlled variants, they can indeed choose which lights are switched on or off, and if you have a VALID safety concern then yes the council will engage in debate and look to the impact of a further change for us.

Otherwise on a slightly diff. tack, this article is.completely unbalanced and biased towards sensationalism. It's badly written and the editor is obviously out of town. Poor journalism all round.
Personally I applaud the decision and review period from Wilts Council. When I was a kid in the 80s I remember street lamps being switched off like this. Personally I like the dark as it encourages sleeping. Something that I wish to do at night in order to get ready for a productive work day. Street lamps in the main, are not there to specifically light people's doors or driveways. Residents have every right to install a light on their property if they wish to see their own paths and doorways or feel like they need 150watts blazing a trail for every cat or hedgehog crossing their path. Now that the highways are replacing the lamp sensors with modern remotely controlled variants, they can indeed choose which lights are switched on or off, and if you have a VALID safety concern then yes the council will engage in debate and look to the impact of a further change for us. Otherwise on a slightly diff. tack, this article is.completely unbalanced and biased towards sensationalism. It's badly written and the editor is obviously out of town. Poor journalism all round. tiberius32ad
  • Score: 0

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