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Street light switch-off violates human rights says Councillor

Posted on Saturday 23rd July 2011 at 11:51 pm by SH (Editor)

Streetlights on Bradley Stoke Way

A Bradley Stoke Town Councillor has criticised the town’s newly-introduced part-night street lighting scheme by claiming it violates residents’ human rights.

Councillor Edward Rose, Bradley Stoke

Speaking at last week’s Safer and Stronger Communities meeting, Cllr Ed Rose said he supported calls by some residents for the lights to be turned back on because they have a right to “liberty and security” (Article 5 of the UK Human Rights Act) and “protection from discrimination” (Article 14).

The comments put Cllr Rose at odds with other members of the Town Council, including Mayor Ben Walker, who unanimously consented to the introduction of the scheme in January.

Cllr Rose, who was not a member of the Town Council at the time of the decision, says he was alerted to residents’ concerns at a Councillor surgery earlier this month.

A number of residents from Snowberry Close are understood to have attended the surgery and demanded that the lights be turned back on, saying that parts of their street are particularly dark due to the presence of tall trees which block out any ambient light.

Cllr Rose said he took the complaints on board and later conducted his own survey of opinions in Hawkins Crescent, Crystal Way and Snowberry Close, concluding that “people are worried and fear for their liberty and safety”.

One resident of Snowberry Close who attended the meeting recounted almost hitting a pedestrian crossing the road when driving home in the early hours when the street lights were out, adding: “I pay my rates, I should have my utilities”. The same resident complained of being “unable to see a thing” when looking out from his house after hearing a suspicious noise in the middle of the night.

Town Clerk Sharon Petela seemed to reverse a previously-stated policy by saying the Town Council was “collating concerns received”, adding that “emails aren’t being ignored”.

Regular readers will recall that in May residents were told to contact South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) Streetcare department with their concerns and only contact the Town Council with questions about the public consultation that it had conducted on the scheme at the end of last year.

The Clerk confirmed that a couple of emails had been received from residents of Snowberry Close and added that “a couple of streets [elsewhere] have already been switched back on, as an emergency case”. However, subsequent enquiries by The Journal have revealed that just one street light, in Palmers Leaze, has been reverted to all-night operation.

Ms Petela informed the meeting that a meeting between the Town Council and SGC was planned for mid-August, when “streets will be reviewed”.

Following the meeting, The Journal offered Cllr Rose an opportunity to expand upon his references to human rights legislation but he would only say:

“We the Council of BSTC are here to look after our residents and do what we can to make life for all better.”

“The aspect of street lighting was discussed and [the] onus is upon Gloucestershire County Council (sic) to make a reply back to our inquiry.”

Asked how residents should register any concerns prior to the mid-August review meeting, Ms Petela told The Journal:

“Residents can use the BSTC website online contact form, or e-mail directly to myself, or use SGC’s Streetcare online contact forms

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Tags: Bradley Stoke Town Council, environment, streetlighting

15 Responses to “Street light switch-off violates human rights says Councillor”

  1. anon-e-mouse Says:

    So we have a resident who by their own admission is admitting to driving without due care and attention and a rather hysterical councillor who makes grandiose claims invoking human rights legislation but then cannot really substantiate them.

    Have these people never lived or driven in the countryside at night?

  2. SH (Editor) Says:

    "Hardly a human rights issue" says fellow Concillor Keir Gravil on Twitter.

  3. Bakri Baba Says:

    @editor though I agree with freedom of speech but I fed up with constant moaning or impotency of anon-e-mouse. He loves to criticize everyone on this planet without revealing his identity.

    I want my streets lights back because the price I have paid is for the house in Bradley Stoke not in the country side. I live in developed country which should be able to meet its energy demands rather than blacking out densely populated areas.

    As far as Councillor Ed Rose, Hats off to him, its a first time I’ve seen a person so passionate about local issues.

    @anon-e-mouse if you are ready to reveal your identity, I’ll reveal mine as well.

  4. anon-e-mouse Says:

    Bakri, I just love postings like yours that start with “I agree with freedom of speech but…” so suggest if you don’t like what I say then don’t read it. And impotent? Hardly! 😉

    It’s your prerogative if you believe it’s fine to carry on burning colossal amounts of fossil fuel but some of us more progressive thinkers can see the bigger picture. Energy is a finite resource and we should be using it more wisely.

    If an elected representative gets worked up about this then fair play to him or her, it’s just a shame they don’t speak out on the more pressing issues affecting Bradley Stoke.

    So my real name is Jebediah Gruntfuttock if that pleases you.

  5. flurfy chicken Says:

    The problem is with fossil fuels running out, due to excessive use by ‘developed’ countries, these measures have to be taken.
    Is it a human right to have lights on at night? I don’t think so, I could argue that the street lights out side my bedroom which keep me awake are against my human rights, but then I would also have to say that the sun in the summer wakes me early, is that also against human rights? If you are out and about in the early hours and there are no lights in your street, take a torch, if you fear for your safety, take a personal attack alarm or don’t go out at that time. and from where I am in Bradley stoke I can see lots of country side, we are on the very edge of the country side here in Bradley stoke, and long may it stay that way.

  6. Mike Says:

    I don’t see how having no street lights between certain hours is a humans rights issue. It’s an inconvenience for some. But for the majority of us living in Bradley Stoke at that time of night we will be tucked up in bed. As I have said before there may be an increase in crime, but that’s yet to be established. Other towns in the country are also running this scheme, so Bradley Stoke is hardly unique in this matter.

    If you are really worried about the potential threat of individuals lurking around your property at night, install some energy saving lights that have a PIR sensor. Just like flurfy chicken says, carry a torch and a personal attack alarm if you know your going to be out late.

  7. Bert Says:

    I’m pretty sure the UDHR wasn’t drawn up with late-night lighting policies in mind.

  8. Mike L Says:

    Does Councillor Rose’s comments really warrant a write up? Infringement of human rights eh? This is a joke. If The residents of Bradley Stoke are concerned about something that does not affect them, given that 95% percent must be asleep between midnight and 5am, they really must have nothing else constructive to worry about. Given the current climate, should it not be ‘the greater good for the greater number?’ If cutting costs means saving jobs in local government then I’m all for it. I think most of you who oppose the ‘lights out’ policy really need to wake up to reality.

    As for the resident of Snowberry Close almost hitting a pedestrian, well all I can say is that perhaps that said pedestrian should learn to cross the road, after all, you are hardly going to miss a car coming towards you with its headlights on?

  9. Andrew Says:

    UDHR absolutely does not cover this issue – it’s ridiculous.

    I don’t feel that our council needs to spend our money on lighting throughout the night because a Snowberry Close driver needs an excuse for driving without due care and attention, and a pedestrian doesn’t know how to cross the road safely.

    An increase in crime is unlikely, though perhaps it may encourage criminals to change their working hours. I can see an argument for keeping the lights on later on a Friday and Saturday when there is a good deal more late night activity – perhaps. But the rest of the week it’s a no brainer. Save the cash. Do some good with it.

  10. Cyncial McCynic Says:

    Somebody almost hit a pedestrian because it was so dark?! I actually laughed at that. Can imagine what sort of a whining, exaggerating “NIMBY” he is too!! What a load of rubbish! Some people really will moan about the slightest thing.

  11. Sally Says:

    what a load of moaning about insignificant things, there are far worse things going on in this world, than moaning about bloomin lights being off in the early hours. Some people really should get a life.

  12. Joanne Says:

    As someone who has commented on this subject more than once, even I don’t think it’s a human right issue!

    I just think it was a badly thought out and implemented plan, with inadequate consultation by the council.

    I have always maintained that I support a reduction in lighting, not a complete blackout and I do think safety will be shown to be compromised eventually.

    This councillor seems to be taking it to the extreme though, what I would like to see is a reasonable compromise.

  13. kim Says:

    Seem to remember being consulted a while back on this. Why would anyone want the lights on during night unless up to no good. Keep a torch handy. It’s great to see the dark sky. Stop moaning. Get a life.

  14. cynical sid Says:

    So good to see councillors with differing views rather than following usual Conservative clap trap

  15. SH (Editor) Says:

    The Journal asked the Town Council for a summary of the discussion and decisions made at the August review meeting mentioned in the article.

    The Council refused to provide the requested information, saying that it will be made available at the next meeting of Full Council on Wednesday 21st September and not before.

    Members of the public may attend the meeeting (7:30pm, Jubilee Centre) and are permitted to speak during the 15 minute public questions period at the start.

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