Rugby kept in the dark

If like me you tend to burn the midnight oil at the best of times – and you live in Warwickshire, you will have noticed something odd, dark and a little sinister in recent months.

No street lights!

Well, after midnight of a week night, and 1.00pm at weekends.

That’s right, for those of you not local, Rugby in the main – and also large parts of Warwickshire, does not have any street lights on and light in most of its residential streets as such until the sun rises.

It is all part of a cost-cutting measure by the County Council and supported by local Borough Councils to, well, cut costs and – in their words, reduce the carbon footprint and ‘light pollution’.

In doing so, compromising our safety at night time.

And the result of it all; well, to be honest, 1. It is a strange sight, 2. Generally a bit unnerving.

Seeing my street shrouded in pitch darkness has been strange.

Rugby's idea of late night street lighting 2013

Rugby’s idea of late night street lighting 2013

And two instances in recent weeks have really demonstrated what a bizarre and unnerving situation this is.

Walking home a party the other week, you lose track of time and although I was five minutes or so from home, I suddenly realised the witching hour had arrived and the lights were off. Spooky.  Ok, so the last few streets were ‘lit’ it seems every six houses by light sensors on front porches and moonlight from a relatively clear sky, but still, you are walking in darkness in a residential area; whether it is known as being safe or not.

The second instance: just the other night, when I was calling one of our two cats in. Literally one moment the lights were on; the next they weren’t and street was plunged into darkness. Someone had literally flicked a switch. Good night!

Talk about progress? This is very much going back in time. Ever since Victorian times has there been street lights (street lighting by gas was first introduced in London in 1807 I believe), even if back then it was fraught with danger.

Victorian street lighting

Victorian street lighting

Amid some public anger and discomfort, there have been calls to bring back street lighting, and the local political parties are championing the cause as part of their manifesto for the local elections; Labour saying they will reinstate street lights throughout the night if they get in.

For the moment though, as with most things, most of us continue to be left in the dark. And to be honest it is not good.


2 thoughts on “Rugby kept in the dark

  1. Hi Karl. Walking home in the dark can be scary and may increase risk but I support the reduction in street lighting. The most dangerous place in Rugby is the busy, well lit town centre on a weekend night. I’ve have never had any lighting up the country lane I live in but in recent years increasing light pollution from Coventry and the A428 has meant I can easily find my way at night. With the addition of the western relief road, its really like living next to a flood lit stadium.
    A glowing night sky is not progress. Reducing our carbon footprint and light pollution are very valid arguments. We’ll pay less tax and we can probably do away with a power station or two so fresher air for everyone. Perhaps turning off every other street light or installing LED proximity lighing would be an acceptable compromise for night owls like you. Keep safe and enjoy the night sky.

    • Valid points Giles. Doesn’t detract away from the fact that many town residents find the lack of street lighting worrying, both from within their own homes i.e crime risk, and also if they happen to be out at that ungodly hour. LED lighting (as you mentioned) or every alternate street light lit would be a good compromise. My reference to glowing night sky and progress was tongue in cheek which I’m sure you gleaned 🙂

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