UK town to switch off streetlights after midnight to save energy despite crime concerns, hike taxes: report

Council members say residents have expressed concern that the measure could lead to an increase in crime

A draft budget in the U.K. city of Newport is proposing to switch off streetlights to cut back on costs, but officials are concerned that the move would put residents at risk. 

The city, located in South Wales, included the measure in its 2023/2024 draft budget. If implemented about half of the town’s lights would be off between midnight and 6 a.m., BBC News reported.  

FILE: Almost empty streets in the shopping centre of Newport. 

FILE: Almost empty streets in the shopping centre of Newport.  (Getty Images)

Newport’s Green Party councilmember Lauren James said it was imperative that safety considerations be considered. 

"I hope that the council is looking into it, and make sure that there are things like high-visibility strips on steps, so it’s safe for those who do have to be out at those times," she said. 

Another council member, Andrew Sterry, said his constituents had expressed concerns over a possible increase in crime. 

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"I am against this proposal as I received many comments from my residents and they’re extremely concerned about crime rates going up," he said. "It wasn’t that long ago that all the street lights were changed to LED to save costs." 

A draft budget was made available to the public on Dec. 15, 2022. It is due to close on Feb. 2, 2023. 

Among the other plans is a 9.5% council tax hike because of "increasing costs and pressures faced by the council."

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Costs of living in the U.K. have soared in recent months. Late last year, inflation in the U.K. hit a 41-year-high of 11.1%, driven by sharply rising energy and food costs. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.