Plans for Herts street lights to stay on until 2am rejected…for now

PUBLISHED: 17:44 26 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:47 26 February 2020

Currently, street lights in Hertfordshire are kept open until 1am. Picture: Pixabay.

Currently, street lights in Hertfordshire are kept open until 1am. Picture: Pixabay.

Archant

A call for street lights in Hertfordshire to stay on longer has been rejected – for now – by the county council.

Currently - under the county council's 'part-night lighting' scheme - most street lights are turned off at 1am and come on again at 5am.

But at a meeting of the full council on Tuesday, Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst called for lights to stay on until 2am.

He stressed that the cost of the extra hour could be met by dimming the intensity of street lights between 5am and 6am but the full council rejected the move, after executive member for highways and the environment Cllr Phil Bibby said a 'coherent policy' was needed before action could be taken.

He said proposals to allow the extension of street lighting to 2am had already been recommended by the highways and environment cabinet panel and council officers were already looking at 'suitable criteria' to support this 'relaxation'. But he said time was needed to develop a 'coherent policy'.

"We know there are areas that need additional lighting, for example railway stations with late trains - and they will be duly considered," he said.

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"But we are not going to get into a situation of a free for all to drive a horse and cart through our policy on street lighting".

In presenting the proposal, Cllr Giles-Medhurst pointed to the area around Watford Junction - where just a short walk away from the railway station areas were in 'pitch blackness' after 1am.

However he stressed that lighting decisions should be taken with local communities and that not every light should stay on until 2am.

Labour's Cllr Sharon Taylor, who is also leader of Stevenage Borough Council, backed the proposal, saying: "Our request is that we put an end to this miserable night-time curfew you have imposed on some of our residents' neighbourhoods.

"We know not everywhere wants it, but it is essential in our urban areas that people feel safe where they live.

"It's not going to cost anything. It doesn't use carbon. So let's just do it and get the lights back on at night."

Cllr Giles-Medhurst amendment to the council's budget proposals was backed by Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors but voted down by the county council's Conservative majority.

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