Swiss city to switch off all streetlights between 1am and 5am on weekdays

Swiss city to switch off all streetlights between 1am and 5am on weekdays

In an attempt to save energy, the city of Uster in Canton Zurich has decided to switch all public lights off between 1am and 5am on weekdays. Critics have argued that the policy will cause more road accidents and will make pedestrians feel less safe.

Streetlights in Uster switched off between 1am and 5am on weekdays

From Monday, October 17, all public lighting (including streetlights) will be switched off in Uster between 1am and 5am on weekdays until further notice. The policy is designed to help support the government's energy-saving plan in its attempt to help the country avoid energy shortages and blackouts this winter.

The ban on lighting will apply to all local and cantonal roads within the city's jurisdiction, but will not extend to the nearby motorway or to private homes and businesses. Lighting exceptions will be made for the Uster Märt on November 24 and 25, and St. Stephen’s Day on December 26. The lights will also be switched on if needed by the emergency services.

Uster streetlights consume as much power as 110 homes 

City officials explained that the policy will reduce energy consumption in the city by the equivalent of 110 single-family homes. City engineer and business manager for the city of Uster, Marcel Kauer, said that "there is no reason to fear that switching off the lighting will have a negative impact on the security situation in Uster." If energy shortages continue to be a threat, the local council (Gemeinde) confirmed that they are prepared to extend the policy to weekends as well.

According to 20 minuten, Uster isn’t the only city in the canton that is considering a ban on streetlights at night: the city council of Zurich are pushing forward with plans to switch off path and street lighting in the city from when weekday public transport services end at night to the resumption of services early in the morning.

Opponents worry about safety for Swiss drivers and pedestrians

The plans by Uster and Zurich have been heavily criticised by some politicians. Zurich government councillor and building director Martin Neukom recently told a conference that "apart from traffic safety, the subjective feeling of safety [for pedestrians] also decreases without lights on the streets."

Speaking to 20 minuten, the president of the Uster branch of the Swiss People’s Party, Daniel Schnyder, said that while his party recognised the need to save power, they opposed the "patchwork of measures" proposed by the council. They also cited safety concerns for pedestrians and drivers, arguing that "electricity-saving measures must not be at the expense of safety."

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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