BBC Breakfast News are in Clevedon (the town where I live) this morning covering the story of the 19 year old who got killed by a car because, or allegedly partly because, the local council implemented a policy at the end of last year to turn almost all of the town's street lights at midnight.
As a comedian and frequent flyer, I regularly find myself arriving home after midnight and towards the end of last year I saw this phenomenon for the first time and immediately said it was an accident waiting to happen.
Ask yourself, if it's alright to turn off the street lights after midnight (and Twitter is full this morning with people asking questions like "correct me if I'm wrong but don't cars come equipt with lights @VanessaHuricane") then why do we have them on at all? Exactly, the question answers itself.
Anyone who tried to walk home from a Christmas party in Clevedon (and if you left the party before midnight, it can't have been much of a party) will testify that a town's streets without street lights are scary and dangerous. Many people find themselves walking in the middle of the road because in the pitch dark (and, no, not everyone goes out at night equipped with a torch - most people in Clevedon in December didn't realise they were going to need one) you can't see the obstacles on the pavement.
Clevedon in good light
Try it. Anyone out there who's being sneeringly dismissive of these North Somerset yokels bleating about their lack of street lights, try walking along a pavement in town with your eyes closed. No peeking. Do it in the middle of the night when you don't know who or what's lurking round the next corner. After a few yards of avoiding recycling boxes and dog turds, kerb edges and low hanging bushes, you might understand what we're talking about.
The lights have, of course, been turned off by North Somerset Council to save money. The turn-off is supposed to save £110,000. In an unrelated story in this week's Clevedon Mercury we learn that North Somerset Council has had a specialist movement sensor system fitted at its offices, causing the office building's lights to go on when movement is detected. They bought the system last March for £12.6 million.