CRIME will increase and people will be put at risk as streetlights are switched off in a bid to save money, according to a Sudbury resident, writes Elliot Pinkham.
Peter Gordon, 64, of Lombardy Road, said lights in his road had been switched off without any warning from Suffolk County Council.
“There has been nothing come through the door and it happened last Monday,” he said.
“Vulnerable people will be put at risk, plus there is more chance of burglaries. I am paying my council tax for something I am not getting and I am concerned for people’s safety.”
The county council estimates the scheme will save at least £550,000 per year on energy bills and 4,000 tonnes of CO2 by April 2013.
The switching off of streetlights in Sudbury between midnight and 5.30am began rolling out from January 23, with the rest of the county following suit between now and the middle of May.
“It is quite scary really,” said Mr Gordon, who moved to Sudbury from Essex almost two years ago. “If they had turned off every third one, then at least there would be some light.
“If you are coming back from the pub late at night, or arriving on the train, you are going to have to start carrying a torch everywhere.”
He added: “I feel that people round here aren’t aware of what is happening, especially if you go to bed before midnight.”
A Suffolk County Council spokeswoman said leaflets had been distributed to town and parish councils and meetings had been held, although costs prohibited sending leaflets to individual residents.
“We are committed to continuing to work with local councils, the police and the safer neighbourhood teams to ensure that we implement the new intelligent lighting system effectively in all areas,” she said.
“Information received from other local authorities that have implemented similar systems shows that there has not been an increase in crime and often a decrease has been experienced.
“The system Suffolk County Council is implementing is fully adjustable and can be modified if required,” she added.