Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lights out!

Nottinghamshire County Council spends more than £5million a year lighting the streets in its area. This is "five times more than in 2005 because of rising energy prices", we learn from The Daily Mail and others.

Since the Council is looking to save £150million over the next three years, it is looking hard at its lighting budget and has decided that some £1.25million a year can be saved from its street lighting bill. But it will achieve these savings by dimming lights along main roads. Furthermore, up to half of the lights in residential areas will be turned off between midnight and 5.30am. Those in rural areas will be turned off completely.

Nottingham is not on its own. Up to three-quarters of councils are planning to turn off street lamps or dim the lights in an attempt to save money "and meet climate change targets". With 7.5million street lamps nationally, which cost an estimated £500 million a year to run, there is plenty of scope for "saving".

But the down side is an almost certain increase in accidents, theft and property crime, issues which are not being considered. Nor indeed are costs of the salaries of council chief executives and senior staff, which continue to rise. Thus, once again, we have the same old equation – we pay more and more and get less and less, while so-called public servants get richer on the backs on our taxes.

Yet, bizarrely, the International Energy Agency is "warning" that surging production of shale gas is driving energy prices down so much and so fast that it "threatens to blunt investment in alternative sources of energy including wind, nuclear and solar power." The current energy cost increase is temporary and artificial.

Such considerations, however, do not penetrate the befuddled brains of our rulers though. With their taxes, levies and other imposts, they can continue to force the price paid for energy to increase artificially. By such means, they can legitimise depriving us of a safe, well-lit environment, while their well-padded backsides continue to occupy warm, comfortable offices at our expense.

As the criminal roam the unlit streets, and the accidents multiply, we may well have cause to wonder why we are not rooting out the parasites who rule us and turning out their lights - permanently.