Funding for streetlights in Southampton has reduced amid concerns for women’s safety
But the council said lighting ‘won’t be reduced’ despite this
It has been revealed that in the 2019-2020 period, Southampton City Council (SCC) spent about £5.2 million on the local region for streetlights, which is less than the year before.
The Daily Echo reports that funds have decreased since 2018-2019 (despite the figure of £5.2 million being the same) due to inflation. The value for money has increased, meaning that the £5.2 million in the 2019-2020 period is worth less than that of 2018-2019.
According to Southampton City Council, there isn’t “reduced lighting in the city”, in spite of the budget saving.
Nevertheless, this is in the midst of the issue of women’s safety at night, after the murder of Sarah Everard and following our recent article, in which we reported 85% of female Soton students do not feel safe walking at night.
According to the Daily Echo the government is taking “immediate steps” to improve security, involving the increase to the Safer Streets fund (which allows for better lighting and CCTV for neighbourhoods) to £45 million.
Southampton City Council has stated to the Daily Echo that it will “prioritise” preventing and acting against violence towards women and girls, by implementing more “safety improvements to our public spaces”.
They went on to say that “the minor decrease in our street lighting budget for 2019/20 can be accounted for via fluctuating annual costs, including changes to energy pricing and the alteration of our streetlight inventory to LED lamps, which cost less to run and are more energy-efficient.
“Therefore, whilst there has been a budget saving to the council, this is not as a result of reduced lighting in the city.
“We have recently been taking specific measures to improve public safety in Southampton in partnership with Hampshire Constabulary.”