Turning off street lighting in rural areas has less of an impact than turning off the light in densely populated centres, districts or station neighbourhoods.

Flemish municipalities have been asked by grid operator Fluvius to turn off the street lighting at night between 23 p.m. and 5 a.m. As a crisis measure, this allows municipalities to save about a third on their enormously increased electricity bill.

However, not all municipalities simply give in and there are considerable objections to turning off the light switch and contributing to the substantial savings on energy bills. Although there are European standards on street lighting, there is no legal text that obliges municipal authorities to light their roads. On the other hand, as road authorities, municipalities are obliged to do everything in their power to ensure safety on their territory. And that's where the shoe pinches.

security

Turning off street lighting in rural areas has less of an impact than turning off the light in densely populated centres, districts or station neighbourhoods. In addition, switching off the street lighting can have a direct impact on the safety of motorists, but also indirectly on pedestrians of cyclists.

According to network operator fluvius  all Flemish municipalities can save about a third on their electricity bill. However, it is unfortunately not so obvious to turn off the street lighting. Public lighting is in circuits that cross municipal boundaries. So when one municipality wants to save, it can be a breaking point for another municipality.

LED-lighting

Other scenarios are possible, but they are a little more difficult to implement. For example, LED lamps can be dimmed instead of switched off and thus still guarantee safety. About a third of all lamps in Flanders are now LED lamps, but replacing everything will take years.

The big question is what will happen to the cameras in the public places when the streetlights go out? Inquiries show that only the images from infrared cameras can be used in the dark. Last year, the municipalities together paid 198 million euros in electricity for their street lighting.

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For example, LED lamps can be dimmed instead of switched off and thus still guarantee safety.
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