Return of the blackout: Crime fear as councils switch off streetlights to save the planet

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Thousands of street lamps in suburban areas are being switched off after midnight.

The blackouts are being imposed by councils to cut energy bills and meet climate change targets.

Buckinghamshire is carrying out one of the most radical trials of the new approach.

More than 1,700 lights, which illuminate 25 miles of roads, will soon be switched off completely.

The council claims the scheme will save £100,000 and nearly 600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

But the Government-backed blackouts have provoked anger from police leaders and motoring organisations.

Derek Barnett, of the Police Superintendents' Association, said: "Good street lighting reduces crime, it makes the public feel safe and it reduces the risk of road traffic accidents.

"I would need to feel confident that the environmental savings were being balanced against the impact on local crime."

The latest move is the most draconian rationing of street lighting since the power cuts of the 1970s.

The trials will be extended to more areas - including rural A-roads - in the next few weeks.

If these tests prove successful, all street lamps could be routinely turned off between midnight and 5am, a Daily Mail investigation has revealed......Article conts (-)

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