THE lights are going off across Purbeck over the next few weeks as Dorset County Council extends its drive to cut costs.

Lamps will be switched off around midnight in rural areas and the changes will begin in early December.

The council says the part-night black-out will only take place where there are no significant concerns over road safety or crime and 500 lamps will remain lit all night.

Around 1,600 lights will be converted by SSE Contracting, the county council’s street lighting partner, to switch off between midnight and 5.30am (1am to 6.30am BST).

The lamps will come on again in the morning only if it is still dark.

However they will remain lit all night on main roads, within town centres and on roads with speed humps. It will take around four weeks to complete the changes, which involves changing the light sensor on each lamp to a special timed version.

Part-night lighting has been rolled out across Dorset since 2011 and is operating on nearly all urban residential roads.

Residents have expressed fears that crime would rise as a consequence.

Dorset Police recently investigated claims that crime and anti-social behaviour had risen since the switch-off and found no increase.

Deputy Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “We take the concerns of our communities very seriously and have worked together with our local authority partners in Dorset County Council to closely monitor the areas where street lights have been switched off in case of any changes in crime levels.

“I’m pleased to say that we have found there has been no link to an increase in crime, which I hope will offer some reassurance to residents.”

The money saving scheme will be extended to all remaining towns and villages across the county over the next year, with town and parish councils consulted on which streets should remain lit all night.

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