LED street lights scheme prompts crime concerns
REPLACING street lamps in Prestbury with brighter and more energy-efficient technology could increase opportunities for criminals, a local councillor has warned.
Gloucestershire County Council's highways engineers are swapping in LED street lights along roads in Prestbury that give "whiter" and "clearer" beams of light.
The scheme, which will eventually see thousands of street lights changed, is part of a wider operation across Cheltenham and Gloucester, and aims to reduce the carbon footprint. The LED street lights are expected to make people feel "safer", according to Gloucestershire Highways. They will also be linked up to the council's central management system, which monitors new street lights, increasing viability on police CCTV.
But Prestbury councillor Les Godwin reckons the new lighting will have the opposite effect and offer more opportunity for crime.
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"Anything that reduces the carbon footprint has got to be a good thing," he said. "But I am always a little bit nervous when it comes to street lights, because there are noted areas where crime is more prevalent. Whether the lights are brighter or not, the light will actually be directed straight down and cover only the immediate area around it.
"That's a bit of a worry because it could lead to the possibility of more misbehaviour in areas that are less lit-up in between."
The move is part of a council project to replace 1,000 street lights coming to their end in Cheltenham and Gloucester. By the end of this year it is hoped 3,000 of the council's 59,000 street lights will run using LED technology, saving 300 tonnes of carbon a year in energy emissions.
Councillor Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways and flood, said, "LED street lights are a proven technology.
"If Councillor Godwin has any concerns, our street lighting team are more than happy to meet him in Prestbury to find a solution. There are adjustments that can be made, to alter the range of the beam from individual street lights."