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Health Place. 2015 Jul;34:171-80. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2015.05.011. Epub 2015 Jun 6.

Reduced street lighting at night and health: A rapid appraisal of public views in England and Wales.

Author information

1
Faculty of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SH, United Kingdom. Electronic address: Judith.green@lshtm.ac.uk.
2
Department of Population Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, United Kingdom.
3
Faculty of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SH, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Financial and carbon reduction incentives have prompted many local authorities to reduce street lighting at night. Debate on the public health implications has centred on road accidents, fear of crime and putative health gains from reduced exposure to artificial light. However, little is known about public views of the relationship between reduced street lighting and health. We undertook a rapid appraisal in eight areas of England and Wales using ethnographic data, a household survey and documentary sources. Public concern focused on road safety, fear of crime, mobility and seeing the night sky but, for the majority in areas with interventions, reductions went unnoticed. However, more private concerns tapped into deep-seated anxieties about darkness, modernity 'going backwards', and local governance. Pathways linking lighting reductions and health are mediated by place, expectations of how localities should be lit, and trust in local authorities to act in the best interests of local communities.

KEYWORDS:

Darkness; Light at night; Public views; Rapid appraisal; Street lighting

PMID:
26057894
PMCID:
PMC4509526
DOI:
10.1016/j.healthplace.2015.05.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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