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Surrey’s Street-Lights May Go Back On, After Lib Dems Win Review

Published on: 27 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 29 Mar, 2021

A Guildford Street illuminated by street lighting but at midnight its lights out. Photo Mandy Millyard

Amid growing concerns about the safety of women and girls at night, Lib Dem county councillors have won a review of the Surrey-wide policy of switching off most street lights between midnight and 5am.

Cllr Tim Oliver

This decision was always controversial, but has come under added scrutiny after the tragic death of Sarah Everard and increased focus on women’s safety.

At the full council meeting last week, leader Tim Oliver (Con, Weybridge) said if police asked, they would change the policy, adopted in 2016 in an attempt to save £210,000 a year.

So at this week’s Police and Crime Panel, Lib Dem councillors asked Commissioner David Munro to do just that. Mr Munro said he was fully supportive and would ask Mount Brown to contact the council.

Cllr Will Forster

County Cllr Will Forster (Lib Dem, Woking South), said: “Street lights provide an important element of safety and security for residents, especially pedestrians.

“We Lib Dems never thought plunging areas into darkness for a significant part of the night was a good idea, and I am pleased the county and police will now consider having street lights on at night.”

Cllr Fiona White

Cllr Fiona White (Lib Dem, Guildford West), added: “I hear a lot of concerns from hospital staff and students as well as local residents.

“I welcome the willingness to look at the issue again.

“We try to encourage people to walk or cycle instead of using their cars but they will make that change only if they feel safe.”

Alleyways can be particularly daunting at night when unlit. Photo Mandy Millyard

Cecilia Taylor

Cecilia Taylor (Shalford) and Lucy Connor (Guildford South West), R4GV candidates in the May SCC election, said in a joint statement:It is deeply regrettable we live in a society where women do not feel safe at night. The fundamental issue of casual misogyny needs to be properly addressed when about three women are murdered in the UK every week.

“We fully understand the concerns of hospital staff, students and residents. Street-lighting can be both reassuring and a deterrent. But we also have to be concerned about the impact light pollution has on our environment.

Lucy Connor

“Scientific studies have proved the loss of darkness can harm individual organisms and their interactions. With more efficient lighting being rolled out by Surrey we think one solution would be to differentiate between the town and rural areas.”

Other local political parties have been invited to comment.

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Responses to Surrey’s Street-Lights May Go Back On, After Lib Dems Win Review

  1. Malcolm Stanier Reply

    March 27, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    I believe the benefits of street lighting, for personal safety and in discouraging criminal and anti-social activity in general, greatly outweigh any miniscule impact light pollution has on our environment.

    I would also say that lack of street lighting, especially at the present time, is very depressing and has a negative psychological impact on mental health. Looking out at night with it being pitch black, really does make the world seem very cheerless.

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