Cambridgeshire residents are being invited to have their say as part of the next phase of community engagement around plans to dim or turn off some streetlights at certain times.

Cambridgeshire County Council is faced with finding more than £100 million in savings over the next five years with less money from Government and more demand on services.

The Council is looking to follow the lead of more than 60 councils across the country, which have already turned off or dimmed street lights, which should save around £272,000 from an annual cost of over £1.1m a year.

A consultation has already started with parish, town, district and city councils to explain the proposals for their areas. This has also included looking at any concerns they may have as well as local solutions they may wish to propose, including funding for some lights.

In that consultation the County Council said it would follow this with a wider community engagement and answer questions about the scheme. It is envisaged this engagement work will primarily be online and will start in October. More detail will be released in the next few weeks.

The County Council which has already been dimming lights in the County has proposed to implement further changes to those streetlights which are remotely controlled by a central management system:

"¢ To increase the current period of streetlight dimming (8pm or 10pm until 6am) to all times,
"¢ turning off lighting not on main traffic routes between midnight and 6am.

The Council is not proposing to turn off lighting on main traffic routes, where CCTV cameras are present and where they support the night time economy.

A recent report shows that where this approach of dimming or turning off streetlights has been taken elsewhere, there is no evidence to suggest a link with increases in crime or detrimental impact on safety.

The move would mean savings could be spent on other frontline services, such as protecting vulnerable adults and children or repairing roads.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Roger Hickford, Chairman of Highways and Community Committee, said: "The Council is facing a reduction of more than £100 million in its budget over the next five years. In an ideal world, we would not of course want to make these cuts and ideally would keep lighting on all night.

However, with all indications suggesting the main Government grant will be reduced to nothing in the next few years it has never been more important that public funds are used where they are most effective. More than 60 other authorities, including almost every one of our neighbouring councils have already turned off or dimmed lighting and we will learn from them. But the indications are that this has not had an adverse impact on crime or safety. However, we do understand local concerns and have been looking at how a scheme could work in Cambridgeshire and what local solutions may be possible. We have had useful conversations with local councils and will move to the next phase of community engagement over the plans and answer questions on proposals."

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