IF Swindon Council can find any alternative to switching off or dimming certain of our street lamps, we implore the authority to adopt that alternative without hesitation.

The report into issues surrounding LED street lighting suggests the council may be thinking of embarking on a course of action which will be disastrous on many levels, including being potentially lethal.

It is important to stress, of course, that this course of action is only on the table because of the disgraceful underfunding of the council by Whitehall. The mercilessness of that underfunding seems to know no bounds.

Nevertheless, the consequences of dimming or switching off street lamps would be horrific.

The toll we paid in reputational damage alone would be extremely high. Like any borough, much of our prosperity depends on attracting new investment. The last thing we need is a reputation as the place whose street lighting is switched off after dark.

We could scarcely do our image more harm were we to roll up the pavements every night at 7pm sharp.

Dimmed or extinguished street lamps are also proven to be a hazard both to drivers and pedestrians. A street in a town, even a main road, is not a motorway. There are no cats’ eyes, pedestrians walk along the margins and there are sometimes potholes.

The absence of light is also a magnet for antisocial and criminal elements whose natural habitat it is.

We suggest that, if the council really has no choice, now is the time for its members to speak out publicly about the underfunding, irrespective of political consequences.

Their first duty should be to us.