A CONTENTIOUS move to switch off nearly 1,500 streetlights across Harborough district has saved taxpayers £21,450, a council revealed this week.
In Harborough, about 1,430 lights have been adapted to be turned off in the early hours which County Hall said this week has saved roughly £21,450 for the first year.
The decision was not welcomed in all quarters, with some disgruntled residents saying it raised the prospect for crime. One frustrated taxpayer in Middledale Road even issued a mock plea last February for volunteers to be attacked, sexually assaulted or even murdered so a street light in his road could be turned back on.
And some Harborians questioned this week whether it was worth it for a saving of £21,450.
Across the county it has amounted to more than £500,000.
By 2014, the council aims to have adapted three quarters of Leicestershire’s 68,000 street lights, saving around £800,000 per year in energy bills and around 3,000 tons of carbon.
So far, around 20,000 lamps in 97 towns and villages across Leicestershire have been switched off between midnight and 5.30am.
A further 885 have been dimmed between 7pm and 7am, and another 852 switched off permanently. The scheme was launched in 2010.
Lesley Pendleton, the county council’s cabinet member responsible for street lighting, said: “We understand people have concerns over safety, but overnight dimming or switching off only takes place when town and parish councils have been consulted.
“We are making big savings on our energy bill, but not at the expense of public safety or security.”