Agenda item

Street Lighting Review - Proposed Changes.


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport which detailed the outcome of the Street Lighting public consultation and proposed next steps for the Street Lighting review and sought the Committee’s views on this to help shape the future Street Lighting offer prior to seeking approval from the Cabinet in December 2023. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 9’ is filed with these minutes.


Arising from discussion, the following points were arose:

i)               The Committee questioned whether other options had been explored, such as switching off alternate lights rather than diming all lights. A Member suggested that this might be considered more acceptable to residents, but also save more in energy costs. The Director advised that this suggestion had not been specifically considered, but the Council had explored several options which were in line with the Code of Practice and the need for a minimum level of light intensity in each area. The Director undertook to consider the suggested alternative approach as part of the consultation process.

ii)             A Member commented that the public’s perception that switching off streetlights would result in an increase in crime was an interesting and delicate issue, as research suggested that, in fact, crime went down when streetlights were turned off. Members noted that the proposals were for streetlights to be dimmed, not turned off, and that the pilot would help determine if residents still had such concerns in those circumstances.

iii)            A Member highlighted the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) mapping system which allowed the public to identify areas in Leicestershire where they felt most vulnerable. It was questioned to what extent the Council would take account of this information as part of its consultation. The Director confirmed that the pilot would help identify if and where residents felt more vulnerable or unsafe as a result of the dimmed lighting and suggested that a heat map could be developed to compare against the records held by the office of the PCC.

iv)            Members commented that the Council had a degree of social responsibility, especially in areas where elderly people lived and could feel isolated, or where there were particularly vulnerable communities. There might therefore be pockets where it would be appropriate to turn the lights back up to full brightness.  It was noted that the pilot would help determine if this might be necessary.

v)             A Member raised concerns about the impact the proposals could have on two specific groups that had responded to the consultation raising concerns that the proposals would make them feel more vulnerable, namely women and those with a disability. It was noted that an Equalities Impact Assessment had been carried out but not attached to the report. Members requested and the Director undertook to provide a copy of this to all Members of the Committee. It was noted that this would also be attached to the future planned report to the Cabinet.

vi)            It was suggested that 8pm was not that late and some young people might be walking home from after school activities around that time. It was suggested that their views should be sought to understand what impact the proposed changes would have on them, noting that they would be unlikely to respond directly to the consultation.

vii)          Members questioned what could be done to make sure dimmed street lighting was not further reduced by tree coverage. The Director undertook to consider the matter further within the Department (which was also responsible for tree maintenance) should any such issues or concerns be raised as part of the pilot.

viii)         A Member queried if alternatives such as motion censored lights might be an option in the future. The Director advised that the current technology could not cope without significant investment.

ix)            It was noted that the dimming of streetlights to 30% [from 10pm on residential streets] was the current national British standard and that the Council was therefore just seeking to bring this forward to 8pm. Members further noted that the pilot would begin in February 2024 and would span over 2 winters to provide an accurate assessment of the scheme across the seasons.

x)             A Member commented that streetlights were largely for the benefit of pedestrians and cyclists. The Director reassured members that busier roads would continue to have lights on, including busy road junctions, but just at a dimmed level from 8pm. It was noted that additional work was also being done to understand foot fall levels in town centres and this data would be considered as part of the pilot process.

xi)            In response to Members query, it was noted that the pedestrianised footpath and cycle ways was an emerging area in the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIP) where data was being collected and monitoring equipment was also being introduced currently in the more urbanised areas, with an ambition for further developments.


The Lead Member for Highways and Transport took the opportunity to note that 30% was still a good level of light and suggested that LED lighting produced good light coverage. It was further noted that carrying out the pilot scheme would give the Authority a better understanding on how the proposed changes would work and where mitigation was needed.



a)             That the outcome of the Street Lighting public consultation and proposed next steps for the Street Lighting Review be noted;

b)             That the views and comments made by the Committee on the proposals be reported to the Cabinet for consideration at its meeting in December 2023;


c)             That the Director be requested to provide Members of the Committee with a copy of the Equalities Impact Assessment carried out in respect of the proposed changes;

d)             That the Director be requested to:

(i)         consider the suggestion of switching off alternate lights, instead of dimming all lights, to determine it this alternative approach might produce further positive outcomes and savings;

(ii)        produce a heat map identifying those locations where people reported feeling vulnerable as a result of the reduced lighting and for this to be compared with data held by the office of the PCC;

(iii)       to consider the impact of tree coverage which might further reduce lighting in some areas and to liaise with colleagues within the Department (which was also responsible for tree maintenance) should any such issues be raised as part of the pilot to see what work could be done to make improvements.

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