Concern over part-night lighting in St Albans

Sandy Walkington

Sandy Walkington - Credit: Archant

Residents on the doorsteps are concerned about the part-night lighting scheme which plunges roads into darkness after midnight according to a local county councillor.

Sandy Walkington, who represents St Albans South division, said that while people understood the need to save money and reduce carbon emissions – the two main reasons why the scheme was introduced by the county council nearly a year ago – they have been voicing their concerns when talking on the doorstep. And those fears are not just restricted to the elderly but to people of all ages.

Cllr Walkington’s comments come after the issue of part-night lighting was the subject of scrutiny at County Hall which, he hopes, will persuade the county council to take a more flexible approach to the issue.

Currently the lights in most roads go off from midnight until 6am but the scrutiny committee is recommending some changes including giving greater local flexibility to county councillors to make changes to lighting and operational hours. They could also be allowed to use their locality funding – money they have to distribute in their communities – to return some lamps to full lighting.

Cllr Walkington said: “St Albans is a commuter city and trains come in throughout the night. A midnight switch off makes walking home very difficult, given footpath faults and overhanging vegetation.

“There is an important night-time economy in St Albans too.”

He is calling on the ruling administration at County Hall to stop taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach and address safety for pedestrians and cyclists as well as motorists.

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He added: “One solution would be to reduce lighting on A roads outside towns which have been exempt, even though their lights tend to be the most powerful.

“This would allow some lights in residential roads to come back on at no extra expense and no extra carbon emissions. Local county councillors should also have the flexibility to work with local residents on identifying particular lights which could be switched back on.”

The recommendations of the county scrutiny committee will now be reviewed by the portfolio holder.