Rising energy prices and the search for savings are more topical than ever. Local authorities have to deal with energy costs that are on average more than 4 times higher than before. A large part of the energy consumption can be found in public lighting.
Collaboration between six municipalities
After consultation with Fluvius – the public lighting network operator – it was proposed to switch off the street lighting managed by the municipalities at night.
For example, it was agreed that from October 29, with the start of winter time, the public lighting from Sunday evening to Thursday evening will be completely extinguished between 11 pm and 5 pm. On Friday and Saturday evenings, on the other hand, the lighting remains on. In practice, this means that the public lighting will go out for the first time on Sunday evening 30 October at 11 p.m.
Not a new phenomenon
In several cities and towns, as in our neighboring countries, street lighting has been extinguished for years. Extinguishing not only has a beneficial effect on finances, but also on the environment and reduces light pollution.
Due to rising energy prices, the number of municipalities in which the street lighting is extinguished has increased exponentially. The Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG) even put this measure at number 1 because there is a ‘need for quick action’. Other measures (eg making buildings climate neutral) are more difficult to implement because they are more time-intensive and yield less net profit.
Many people associate darkness with danger and believe that the sense of security diminishes. However, the experience of other municipalities (where street lighting has been extinguished for years) teaches us that there is no reason to panic. Motorists drive slower when the roads are not lit and they see oncoming traffic better. Burglars are more noticeable when they move because there are no other light sources.
In any case, the various local authorities, in collaboration with the police zones concerned, will closely monitor the burglary figures and the number of traffic accidents.