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

Judith Green*, Chloe Perkins, Rebecca Steinbach, Phil Edwards

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)
125 Downloads (Pure)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-180
Number of pages10
JournalHealth & place
Early online date6 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


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


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