Following on from our hugely successful ‘Light Up Campus’ campaign last year, I’m moving the initiative off campus to Light Up Norwich.
We’re calling on Norfolk County Council to keep on residential street lights for longer. At the moment, up to 75% of residential lights (that’s over 5,900 street lights) are turned off between midnight at 5am. If we look at the wards where most students live it's startling high, with students living in Norwich South (Eaton, Lakenham, Nelson and Townclose - mainly the Golden Triangle) experiencing a black out of 85% of lights, over 1,500!
This is part of Norfolk County Council’s initiative to limit lighting to main roads and high-traffic areas at night. This is supposed to cut down on electricity and save money.
While many people suggest that this is a good thing, and while I am all for saving energy, I don’t think that this should be at the expense of safety. Students and young working professionals are often the ones walking or cycling home late at night, whether it’s from the library, a night out or their work in the city.
Norfolk County Council has refused to listen to our suggestions. Since they implemented the ‘part night lighting’, the number of crimes reported crimes in Norwich haven’t increased, and they’ve taken this to mean that it hasn’t impacted students’ safety.
However, street harassment is rarely reported, and what we’ve seen at uea|su is an increase in anecdotal evidence of students who report harassment, being followed, or simply feeling unsafe when the street lights go off:
‘If I’m walking after a certain time there are very few lights and I fear other people attacking me’ (Female, Undergraduate)
‘I find it really difficult living in the Magdalene area as lots of campus events don’t finish until late and so it has become normal for me to be followed home’ (Female, Undergraduate, HSC)
‘Around Unthank area a man followed me home, talked to me, and wouldn’t leave until I gave him my phone number’ (Non Binary, Undergraduate, AMA)
‘Street harassment is really bad in the area between the city centre and Magdalene Street’ (Female, Undergraduate)
I’m asking Norfolk County Council to consider this evidence, and work with me to light up areas of Norwich on certain nights of the week.
To show your support with this campaign, head to uea.su to find out more or sign the petition here.