Liberal Democrats propose to keep Herts street lights on until 2am

Liberal Democrat suggest counter proposal after finding out about the cost of street lighting until

Liberal Democrat suggest counter proposal after finding out about the cost of street lighting until 2am. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

The Liberal Democrat opposition on Herts County Council have come up with a proposal that could see residential street lights stay on until 2am.

Liberal Democrat group leader Stephen Giles-Medhurst has written an open letter to Phil Bibby, HCC member for Highways, where he proposes the later 2am switch-off should be implemented, and states that this would cost just £19,000 a year.

Street lights across Hertfordshire currently turn off at midnight, however the local authority’s Highways and Environment Cabinet Panel agreed last month to recommend progressively dimming street lights from 9pm, before turning them off at 1am.

The initial counter-proposal to keep lights on until 2am was rejected.

Mr Giles-Medhurst said: “Everyone from all parties accepted that in the trials carried out the night time dimming after 9pm made no noticeable difference in lighting levels.

“So, having the same lighting levels from 5am till 6am – when fewer people are around – until the lights are turned up to maximum at 6am not only makes sense but saves money.

“Many residents in urban areas – with a night time economy and with later arriving trains such as St Albans, Watford, Hemel and Stevenage – want the lights on later.

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“We do accept that others want them off earlier, as the new system of lighting allows for automatic and remote controls of each light it should be left to the local county councillor to decide which stay on until 2am and those that go off earlier.

“That would be true local democracy and I urge the conservatives to not only agree our costed proposals that save money, but return power to locally elected councillors.”

The Liberal Democrats say they have found that having the street lights turn on at 5am until 6am at a reduced lighting level would save £30,000.

Mr Giles-Medhurst also said that given it has now been confirmed by officers that it is not only “feasible” to do this but to also “save additional revenue”, he asked that the council reconsider their recommendation to cabinet.

He stated an amendment should be “to retain the dimmed lighting until 2am and switch off if requested by the divisional member”.

When asked for a statement, councillor Phil Bibby said it was too early to comment on this proposal.