Street lighting in the country

Those of us who wish to see l’éclairage public – public street lighting – reduced, and remaining lights made more economic, fight a losing battle round here.

The previous mayor installed a lot of  street lights in Bréau (and up the cul de sac at the top of my road – leading at that time to one house, plus a number of building plots owned by members of his family …). The current mayor once said to me, with a certain amount of hostility: “But madame, there are people in our village who work and who need to come back in the dark.  Besides, we need the lights to prevent crime – there have been a number of break-ins recently.”

How many people work at night here?  Maybe half a dozen?  And for that we have installed a system which cost more than a hundred grand.  We are in the country here; people carry torches.  Prevent crime?  Hmm.  He referred to break-ins which happened in the village itself – despite the existence of the street lights.

Actually, I have nothing against street lights within the village, provided they are more discreet (and less ugly) than the existing ones, powered more economically and probably turned off at midnight.  But I don’t see any reason for the bright yellow beacons you see at the entrance to the village in the photo I took at two in the morning from my bedroom window. Virtually nobody parks there at night; they are simply an outdated statement of civic pride.

In contrast, the mayor of le Vigan, of whom I am a big fan, has included in his programme of upgrading the town some positively elegant street lights. I’ve not been around at night to see if they are turned off, but given his eco credentials, I am sure that they are run economically.

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