Conservative Barnet council has been named and shamed as the council that dims the most street lights in London – 26,000 or 92% of the total 28,150 street lights they control.
The information was revealed in a recent survey of 150 councils undertaken by Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hilary Benn MP. The survey places Barnet top in London for dimming street lights, and well above average for the rest of the country where across Conservative areas 29% of street lights are either being switched off or dimmed, and across Labour areas only 13% of street lights are being either switched off or dimmed. No other London Borough that responded to the survey was found to dim more than half their lights.
The survey shows a dramatic increase in the number of street lights being dimmed in Barnet compared with May 2010 when none were being dimmed – a direct consequence of severe cuts to local government funding since the Conservative-led coalition came to power.
Labour councillor and Environment committee member, Devra Kay, asked for Barnet council to come clean on the savings from streetlight dimming after she received concerns from local residents – the total estimated saving this financial year is £400,000 from street light dimming.
Barnet Labour’s Environment Spokesperson, Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “It’s quite clear that Barnet’s move to dim most of our street lights comes from government cuts to local council funding since May 2010.
“The Barnet Tories were even planning a total black out by switching off all street lights at night under the latest round of cuts – it was only because of public outcry when Labour councillors made the Tories’ secret plan public that they backed down.
“We really need to be investing in LED lights to get the street-lighting energy bill down on a permanent basis – that would save nearly £300,000 a year.”
Hilary Benn MP, Labour's Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, said:
"Street lights ensure that people are safe on our roads and feel safe walking home, especially at this time of the year when the nights have drawn in.
“Our research shows however that significant areas of Britain have been plunged into darkness since May 2010 as a result of David Cameron and Eric Pickles’ policies. Eric Pickles has even boasted that he ‘loves’ switching off streetlights, which will do nothing to reassure people walking home in the dark.
“David Cameron and Eric Pickles need to tell their shire councils to get their act together and do what forward-thinking authorities are already doing by investing in new technologies like LED lights to save money on electricity bills and keep residents safe.”
1. Details of Barnet’s FoI response to the street lighting survey: https://barnetportal.icasework.com/servlet/ep.getImg?ref=D788764&bin=Y&auth=0&db=gAcEuIdf9lA%3D&hc=5182e976805e96aea010c68181577d51
2. Further details of Labour’s survey on street lights can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30569215 and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2882983/The-great-street-light-switch-75-cent-councils-dimming-lights-save-cash-amid-fears-increased-crime-road-accidents.html
3. Further information about Barnet’s secret plan to switch off all street lights can be found here: http://betterbarnet.nationbuilder.com/crime_fears_over_plan_to_switch_street_lights_off_and_leave_parks_unlocked
4. Cllr Devra Kay’s council question (question no. 6) can be found here: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/b25069/Questions%20to%20the%20Leader%20and%20Committee%20Chairman%20if%20heshe%20has%20delegated%2016th-Dec-2014%2019.00%20Counc.pdf?T=9
For further details please contact:
Cllr Alan Schneiderman - firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568