By Laura Burge
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
AN ATTEMPT to get a council to oppose a countywide streetlight switch-off has failed.
The North Herts Labour Group proposed a motion at North Herts District Council’s full council last week to oppose a county council scheme to switch off streetlights in the district during certain hours.
But the motion was voted down. A similar motion, proposed by the Lib Dems, was also voted against.
The Tory-controlled county council is proposing to switch off two-thirds of the 9,000 streetlights in North Herts between midnight and 6am in May.
Cllr David Billing, leader of the North Herts Labour Group, said: “The Labour Group is very concerned that the county council has decided to turn off about two-thirds of the streetlights in North Herts without any consultation and without any campaign to reassure our residents.
“This is all being done to save money, which is an important aim, but the estimates of savings vary depending where you look, and other ways like dimming the lights, turning off alternate lights or using more energy efficient lights have not been considered.”
Cllr Billing also said that he believes claims by police which say the blackouts elsewhere in the county have reduced crime has not eased residents’ fears.
“Maybe crime in North Herts might reduce, but fear of crime caused by darkened streets will not,” he added.
“What we have to do now is to ensure there are proper discussions with residents, businesses and the police about the important details of where lights must be left on, and that Herts Highways acts on these views.”
Stevenage streetlights are scheduled for switch-off before North Herts.
The town’s Labour group and Lib Dems are collecting signatures opposing the part-night lighting plans. To join Labour’s petition go to www.stevenagelabour.com/streetlights For the Lib Dems, visit www.stevenageliberaldemocrats.org.uk