Street lights across Birmingham could be dimmed or switched off in a bid to cut the council’s £3 million annual electricity bill.
Senior councillors are considering turning some of the city’s 95,000 lights down in the early hours – despite the concerns of safety campaigners.
Dozens of other local authorities have already switched off their lights and they have even been turned off on the M1 between Luton and Milton Keynes between midnight and 5am.
But the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said street lights played a crucial role in road safety.
Its road safety manager Duncan Vernon said: “Driving outside of daylight hours is more dangerous and pedestrians and vulnerable road users suffer from decreased visibility without street lights.
“We urge councils to carefully assess proposals to switch off lights and be confident that doing so will not lead to an increase in injuries or personal safety issues.”
The city council said the plan would save cash and cut carbon emissions.
And cabinet member Coun James McKay (Lab, Harborne) insisted safety was the first consideration. He said: “We’re exploring dimming street lights, where it’s safe to do so, to save money.
“This has been successfully done in other areas. Any assessments would consider public safety very carefully.”
Birmingham roads contractor Amey has already replaced 23,000 traditional lights with longer-lasting LED lights in a cost-cutting move and has plans to change thousands more.
It was estimated that £1.6 million a year could be saved through LED technology, even without lights being dimmed. The high-tech bulbs can also be dimmed at the flick of a switch from the transport department’s control centre.