Comet country street lighting faces the axe

STREET lighting in Comet country will become the latest victim of council cuts, after county councillors agreed last Friday to cut down on the hours it will operate, as part of a scheme which will cost �4.5m to start up.

The scheme, which could save Herts County Council (HCC) up to �1.3m a year in running costs, will take at least three years to make its money back.

It will mean that some lampposts across the area will be switched off between midnight and 6am, prompting concerns about safety.

It is not yet known which areas will be affected by the scheme, but it will not be town centres or major road junctions with a history of accidents.

“This is a case of investing to save,” said Stuart Pile, HCC executive member for highways and transport.

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“We appreciate that some residents may have concerns about our proposals. The safety and wellbeing of residents and motorists is very important to us.

“We are working closely with the police to develop the best approach for areas with higher crime rates.”

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The �4.5m will be used to buy photocells, which allow street lighting to be switched off between certain hours.

It has not yet been decided how the part-night lighting will be implemented, but a HCC’s Highways and Transport Panel will discuss it at a meeting next month.

“We will continue to work closely with the county council around street lighting to ensure the constabulary’s perspective is considered,” said Detective Chief Inspector Paul Williamson.

“[We will] identify those specific locations where it would be desirable to maintain street lighting through the night.”

The scheme is all part of an effort by the council to save �200m over the next four years.

Currently, street lighting across the county costs �10m a year to run, with a third of that down to electricity costs.

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