Lights could literally go out in the kingdom as cash-strapped Fife Council tightens its belt.
Street lamps may be switched off to save money in areas such as industrial estates, rural locations and main roads where there are fewer houses and premises.
The proposal is among of raft of cost-cutting measures put forward by council officers as the local authority faces a £82.5 million funding gap over the next decade.
Despite anticipating public concern about the potential for more crime and road accidents in dark streets, the option is laid bare in a confidential document seen by The Courier listing ways the council could save money.
It states that £580,000, around 10% of the total bill, could be saved on energy charges, maintenance and repairs over three years by reducing lighting.
Conservative councillor Linda Holt said switching off lights would make accidents more likely on hazardous roads, including some in her East Neuk and Landward ward.
She said: “Switching off lights in industrial estates, rural locations and main traffic routes will make these places less secure, and will make people less safe.
“Street lighting is a basic service we expect our taxes to pay for.
“Poorly maintained rural roads in the East Neuk already account for some of the worst road traffic accident stats in Fife, and cutting street lighting here will simply make the roads even more dangerous.”
The document acknowledges there may be a negative reaction to the proposal from communities and businesses due to safety issues.
But it states that studies by the AA and Department of Transport suggest that switching off street lights does not lead to more crime or road accidents.
It also stressed the potential saving was one of many listed for consideration by councillors which may or may not see the light of day.
Ken Gourlay, head of service, said: “There’s no let-up in the financial challenge facing councils and all services are already planning ahead and have been asked to plan for future savings.
“As we do every year, we have to put forward savings options for political groups to consider before they publish their final proposals for a budget.
“All services are expected to put forward savings options and we are still discussing the implications of these.
“Some of them might not be what we’d like to do but at this stage we have to put every option on the table.
“Councillors will decide next year which, if any, of those potential savings they might want to take.”