Clocks going back confuse Hertfordshire streetlight switch-off

STREETLIGHTS which weren’t supposed to be on due to the unpopular switch-off were all put out of sync, thanks to the clocks going back.

An unpopular Herts County Council’s initiative means streetlights in Stevenage and North Herts are switched-off between midnight and 6am. It was put in place in spring.

But, when the clocks went back last month, it seems it took a little while for the lights to catch-up.

Having been introduced after the clocks went forward in March, it is the first time the clocks had faced a clock change.

David Atkins, who lives in Hitchin, first noticed the lights were on when they shouldn’t have been, last week.

He was up at 5am to walk his wife to the railway station when he spotted the lights were on – an hour earlier than they should have been.

“We had returned from holiday the day before so had been used to the lights being off at that time before our holiday. The clocks changed while we were away so wondered if the council hadn’t changed the light timers,” he said.

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“On November 8, they were off at that time so we assumed it was either a one off or the council had rectified the problem.”

The county council said the blunder was due to a “safe mode operation”.

The safe mode ensures the lights are off for only five hours in the night instead of six, both in the lead-up to the clock change and afterwards.

It’s not meant to last for long, but can be in place – as was the case in Hitchin – for up to two weeks.

Stuart Pile, executive member for highways and transport, said: “This all happens to ensure they operate at broadly the same time throughout the year.”