Bleak midwinter! Councils CANCEL Christmas lights switch-ons and other events due to rocketing energy bills
- Christmas for thousands of shoppers across the UK to look markedly different
- Traditional festive light displays will no longer go ahead due to cost concerns
- Penny-counting councils’ cuts could also see some Christmas markets axed
Penny-counting councils across the UK have been cancelling Christmas light switch-ons and similar festive events as they blame the surging cost of energy.
Christmas for thousands of shoppers across Britain will look markedly different this year as a number of traditional light displays will no longer go ahead.
Organisers have warned the skyrocketing costs of providing lighting and security to police larger operations are ensuring the occasions aren’t viable in 2022.
Local authorities in Cambridgeshire, Surrey, Bristol, Kent and Buckinghamshire announced the disappointing news that will mean hundreds of thousands of families miss out on free feel-good light shows over the Christmas period.
Ely City Council in Cambridgeshire cited ‘cost concerns’ as the reason behind the cancellation of its beloved Christmas lights display that cost £9,000.
Meanwhile, Guildford Borough Council claimed it could neither ‘afford nor justify’ funding its annual high street lights, which attracts thousands each year.
Elsewhere, light shows and markets could also be scrapped in Kent and Bristol, while fears have also been raised about the exorbitant costs of Christmas trees this year.
Penny-counting councils across the UK have been cancelling Christmas light switch-ons and similar festive events as they blame the surging cost of energy. Pictured: The 2022 Oxford Street light switch-on
Christmas for thousands of shoppers across Britain will look markedly different this year as a number of traditional light displays will no longer go ahead. Pictured: The Regent Street lights in 2020
Fears have also been raised about the exorbitant costs of Christmas trees this year
Guildford Borough Council’s leader Joss Bigmore warned of ‘significant financial challenges’ to come as he confirmed the annual event would not go ahead for 2022.
‘We cannot deliver a Christmas lights switch on event safely for the anticipated size of the crowd,’ Cllr Bigmore said.
‘We would need an external event and crowd management service to do this. We cannot afford or justify value for money for such an additional significant cost.’
Christmas markets are also fearing for their future, with rates and costs soaring and cancellations already seen in Southampton, Glasgow and Leeds.
The West Yorkshire fair, usually held in Millennium Square, warned it faced ‘significant budget pressures’.
Meanwhile, in Truro, Cornwall, the festive City of Lights Parade has been axed due to a lack of available funds.
Illuminations will also be cut short in Boxberry Gardens, Milton Keynes, thanks to ‘limited resources’.
Organisers have warned the skyrocketing costs of providing lighting and security to police larger operations are ensuring the occasions aren’t viable in 2022
Elsewhere, light shows and festive markets could also be scrapped in Kent and Bristol, while fears have also been raised about the exorbitant costs of Christmas trees this year [File image]
Christmas markets have also taken a hit, with cancellations in Leeds, Southampton and Glasgow. Other venues will host familiar festivities, but with a slight twist for 2022.
In Oxford Street, London, the iconic strip of lights will use LED bulbs for limited hours this year to help businesses shave unnecessary waste off their energy bills.
Where have Xmas lightshows been cancelled this year?
Places with potential alterations:
Leeds, West Yorks
Oxford Street, London
The lights will only illuminate from 3pm until 11pm this festive season. Oxford Street’s Christmas stars are this year comprised of 300,000 LED lights made from recycled polymer, which the New West End Company said are 75% more energy efficient than standard bulbs.
The stars are recyclable and will be reused and repurposed for future Christmas lights schemes, the company added. Ms Kulcsar said she is ‘delighted to be bringing back the Christmas lights to the world-famous Oxford Street this year’.
Elsewhere, in Cornwall and Devon, locals have been asked to chip in help save decorations from cost-cutting measures.
It comes after a host of killjoy councils confirmed Bonfire Night would go off without a bang this year after scrapping annual firework displays due to escalating costs.
Public displays were shelved in Hackney, in London, as well as in Dundee, Cardiff, Manchester and Liverpool this year.
Last month, the body overseeing Britain’s electricity grid warned of possible blackouts this winter if power plants cannot get enough gas to keep running, but said it is an ‘unlikely’ scenario.
It is the most dire of three possible scenarios the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) laid out for how Britain’s electricity grid might cope with the worst global energy crisis for decades.
In the other two scenarios, the operator hopes that by paying people to charge their electric cars at off-peak times and firing up backup coal plants it can offset the risk of outages.
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