Bolton Council is set to dim 37,000 of its 40,000 streetlights as part of cuts to balance its budget. The Labour run council’s financial plans for 2024/25 include a plan to ‘dim and trim’ the borough’s streetlights to save £450,000 a year.

However, a public consultation on the plans prompted concerns about crime and safety. The council have said lighting levels will continue to meet industry-standard safe levels, even when dimmed.

The council manages around 40,000 lights which are their largest electricity consuming asset. All streetlights are currently at 100 per cent of the light capacity when switched on.

If the proposal is implemented, 37,000 of the lights lights will be dimmed by 30 per cent between 9pm and dawn.

Read More: Westhoughton: Concerns raised about street lights being dimmed

Operating at 70 per cent of their current capacity is expected to save around £450,000 in electricity charges. There were several objections to the proposals to operate lights at 70 per cent of their current capacity from the public consultation.

One woman said the move was ‘highly contentious’. She added: “Where I live, there are certain areas that are already poorly lit, and they are a source of anti-social-behaviour from drug taking, drug dealing, congregation of large groups of people, open sexual activity, and more.

“Residents are already concerned about leaving their homes after dark as a direct result of the criminal activity, and our estate is notoriously difficult for the police to apprehend criminals due to the amount of dimly lit footpaths and places to hide.

“As a woman, I am constantly receiving the message to avoid poorly lit areas due to the growing problem of serious violence against women. “What plans do the council have to reassure the women of Bolton that their safety will not be compromised by dimming or removing lighting?”

Another respondent said the would make ‘pedestrians feel less safe and ‘could result in more pedestrians injured in road traffic accidents’. In a question and answer document published by Bolton Council, a spokesman said: “Every year the council puts forward proposals to the cabinet setting out how it intends to deliver a balanced budget.

“The highways department’s contribution to these savings are to dim and trim our streetlights. “Many councils are already doing this, as it helps to deliver both cost and carbon savings, whilst not adversely affecting the safety of citizens.”

The council said not all locations will be dimmed. The council said they will risk assess all lights across the borough and certain town centre locations and areas with issues of community safety will remain lit at full illumination, with no dimming.