Monday, 11 February 2008

Lights out!!

There was an article on BBC South Today this evening about how some residents of Romsey, Hants, are up in arms over a council proposal to reduce the street lighting by turning some of it off. The usual misinformed garbage about fuelling crime and anarchy practically coming to the streets is being spouted by panic-stricken residents, plus emotive nonsense about the blackouts in World War 2 - the ordinary, non-astronomical public is so woefully ignorant it is almost funny.
Via Cloudy Nights forum, where this is also being discussed, I found this Daily Mail article about this, with the laughably over-the-top headline: Return of the Blackout: Crime fear as councils switch off streetlights to save the planet and complete with a lot of inanely stupid comments from people who, sadly, don't know anything other than what rags such as the DM tell them.

As for motorists, that's what vehicle lights are for - and it won't hurt to reduce speed and take a little more care either.

Right, come on Isle of Wight Council, turn ours off now, please! I live in a reasonably dark area, but even so, I have notice the domes from Newport, Ryde, Shanklin and Sandown getting worse over the past couple of years. Actually, it wouldn't hurt to kill off all these unnecessary (in)security lights too.

When I was a small kid, 30 years ago, street lights were routinely turned off after midnight and no-one complained. Have people in the UK really turned into a yellow-streaked, spineless lot fearful of the dark, since then? Or is it just a case of moan about it just to have something to whinge about?

If you are going to look on the bright side (no pun intended) of global warming and the increasing scarcity of cheap fuel, then from an astronomer's point of view turning off the street lights and lessening the cancer of skyglow is no bad thing.

Campaign for Dark Skies