Sunday, 13 May 2012
Last year, Exeter University Students' Guild ran a campaign to highlight the council's plans to turn off streetlights between midnight and 4am in order to save money. The council put their plans on hold in face of strong opposition. However the matter has now returned and Devon County Council have decided to switch to a 'part night lighting' system in Exeter. This means that between the hours of 0030 and 0530 they will switch off lighting in most residential areas in a bid to save carbon and cash. This link has all the more detailed info you need on the matter : http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/transportroads/roads/road_maintenance/street_lighting/partnightlighting.htm
The issues facing us with the proposed system are that Exeter has a high level of student numbers moving across the city, mostly on foot, between the proposed hours so they would be more vulnerable. Given that women are more likely to be victims of sexual crimes and men more likely to be victims of violent, non-sexual crimes, reduced lighting at night increases potential risks and perception of risks for both women and women. Darker streets could also lead to an increase in property burglary. Given that the cost of implementing this scheme to the council will take six years to make back , it seems like this is just a quick win for Devon County Council budget cuts. Exmouth and Newton Abbot already have this scheme in place.
Exeter Students' Guild intend to campaign again on the issue are seeking ideas and thoughts from students on how best to campaign and to hear from groups who will mostly be affected by this move. If you have anything you feel you could contribute to the campaign, please email Emma Payne, Community and Welfare Officer for University of Exeter Students' Guild at firstname.lastname@example.org.