in Environment

Lights out in Essex

It was great to read that Essex County Council are looking at stopping the practice of keeping street lighting on all night long. It’s such a waste when you think about it – why do we need the streets lit all night? I know that the first thing people think about is how safe the streets will be without light at night and I think that’s a genuine concern; it’s great that they are just looking at switching off the lights in “places where it feels it is appropriate”.

The City of London should surely be a candidate for this as well. If you’ve ever wandered around the City at the weekend you’ll know what I mean – the place is almost completely deserted with all the bars, shops etc shut down. If there isn’t anyone there, and there’s already enough light coming from commercial buildings, why do we need the lights on?

Rob Newman made the point about excessive street lighting in his excellent podcast on the Guardian website. He says that a lot of the energy conversations that we have are all focused on ‘how can we meet our energy needs in the future?’ – the demand side – whereas he says that we should be looking at the supply-side of ‘why do we need so much energy in the future?’. I completely agree.

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