Anger at light waste as black out looms

Herts County Council has spent hundreds of thousands on new and replacement lights in the last year at the same time as turning them off.

Figures obtained by the Comet show the authority spent over �700,000 in the last financial year replacing lampposts as well installing lights in new locations.

The money was spent during the implementation of a black out scheme across the county from midnight to 6am to save �600,000 a year. Around 80 per cent of lights in Stevenage and 70 per cent in North Herts will be converted to switch off during those times over the coming weeks.

Stevenage resident Philip Cowdery said he was outraged at the decision to install a new light on the footpath outside his Ripon Road home when the council should be saving money.

“They are wasting money that they shouldn’t be wasting. They are cutting back on benefits, no-one can get a job - we are in a recession. And all the lights are being switched off anyway.

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“We are told that we have to tighten our belts. Is it acceptable to put up an unnecessary street light? It’s not dark. No-one has even hurt themselves. They say it’s for safety, but the houses have been here for 40 years.

“I’m a Conservative and I’m outraged. If they have money to waste like that then they shouldn’t have it.”

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A council spokesman said the Ripon Road light was requested by a resident to illuminate a poorly lit footpath, while the �700,000 expenditure was for necessary repairs and for requested lights.

He added: “Hertfordshire has a large proportion of lighting columns that are over 30 years old, these columns are regularly tested to ensure they are structurally sound and in cases where they are showing signs of failure, they are replaced before they become a danger.”

County Hall said light conversion work will begin in Stevenage in early May, although an exact date was not given, to conclude at the beginning of June. Work in North Herts will start at the beginning of June.

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