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Council / ‘Let there be light’ councillors agree

Shetland Central councillor Ian Scott won unanimous backing for his motion to have the whole of Scalloway illuminated after midnight, after invoking the words of a “greater man than me”.

Scott told Shetland Islands Council on Wednesday that after representations from some constituents, he had visited the benighted areas of Scalloway after midnight and had felt “fearful”.

“I went to the area at night and it is quite frightening. No lighting after midnight could encourage nefarious activities,” he added, concluding his speech with the statement “let there be light”.

The councillor had raised the issue with the roads department last summer, but it had emerged a council decision would be required to “rescind” the semi black out.

Another villager, Central Mainland councillor David Sandison, said that a few residents were concerned for safety reasons and there had been a few accidents in the last couple of years.

There had also been a “bit of theft going on” with thieves, encouraged by the darkness, entering people’s homes and garages.

The “part night lighting” scheme – switching the lights off between midnight to 6am Sunday to Thursday – had been applied to Blydoit, Underhoull and Ingaville Road as a cost saving measure.

Other areas in Shetland such as parts of Lerwick and Mossbank are subject to similar black outs and North Mainland member Alastair Cooper said there was a “spate of petty crime” in Mossbank at the moment.

He had talked to a young mother who was fearful of negotiating the steps to her house with her child in the darkness.

The council heard that new LED technology means the cost of extending lighting to all hours of darkness would be more than offset by replacing the existing halogen lights, even though that replacement programme would cost £185,000.

Councillors unanimously approved Scott’s motion. A report into a review of existing lighting policy will be presented to the environment and transport committee at a future date.