78% Of Streets In Darkness After Midnight, Plaid Cymru Reveal

Almost four-fifths of communities in Caerphilly are in complete darkness after midnight when street lights are turned off, Freedom of Information requests by Plaid Cymru has revealed.

Llanbradach Plaid Cymru councillor Gary Enright (pictured) has collated a complete breakdown of the impact of Labour’s Great Switch-Off following a series of responses obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

The figures show that the average percentage of lights turned off in wards is 78% with 90% the highest in New Tredegar, where 780 of the 865 lights are switched off during the early hours.

Councillor Lindsay Whittle, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, said: “While, thankfully, we don’t have many incidents of people being attacked there are many who are afraid to go out at night. Yes, we fear for the elderly, yes, we fear for the women, yes we fear for the children but this is an issue that affects us all.

“Every victim of crime suffers but so do their families. Imagine the knock on the door by police, all because we turned the lights off and did nothing to restore them. This needs to change and with the dark nights ahead what better time.”

Councillor Gary Enright added: “I’m sure people living in Caerphilly county will be as surprised as I was on the impact of Labour’s Great Switch-Off.

“In neighbouring authorities like Cardiff residential areas still have their street lights on in the early hours – why does Labour continue to penalise those in Caerphilly? They’ve got their priorities all wrong.

“Labour leaders have in the past tried to justify switching off lights saying it was being done to reduce Caerphilly’s carbon footprint but they know full well that 100% of electricity supplied to lamp-posts comes from renewable energy sources. The council should really be looking closely at public safety and concerns that people feel unsafe.                                                                                                                             

“Having experienced the total darkness when I took a colleague to the airport, trust me when I say, I’m not intimidated by anything but that was a completely uncomfortable experience. Imagine having the walk home through that, when you physically cannot see your hand in front of you, say having finished a late night shift.”

Plaid Cymru group deputy leader Charlotte Bishop, who has launched an online petition on Change.Org calling for the lights to be switched back on, said: “Caerphilly council pushed up council tax this year despite our warnings about the impact on residents. They’ve also got £180m lying in balances – time they used some of it to put the lights back on.

“Of course,  low energy lights have been fitted in street lights over the years so the cost implications will be lower. The police presence on our streets is not what it was so people need some reassurance in these difficult times so let’s get the lights back on.”

You can sign Councillor Charlotte Bishop’s petition on https://www.change.org/p/keep-us-safe-put-our-street-lights-back-on?recruiter=165889569&recruited_by_id=26384550-53dc-11e4-8d5e-d7e2d13bcb85&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=petition_dashboard

In the online petition, she wrote:

Many residents in Caerphilly County feel they are no longer safe to go out at night.

Shift workers forgotten and left to fend for themselves in almost pitch-black conditions. 

Residents feel that crime has increased. People do not feel safe in their communities anymore. 

Help us to show Caerphilly Council that we the people need our street lights.

All this in an attempt to save money or for the environment factor yet millions were spent on changing to eco bulbs for nothing. 

Street lights increase the efficiency of CCTV and help reduce crime rates.



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