Millions of pounds to be spent turning off Hertfordshire’s street lights

MILLIONS of pounds are to be spent by the cash-strapped county council – so that it can turn off street lights at night.

The county council agreed on Friday to spend �4.5 million to introduce part-night street lighting across Herts.

The aim is to save �1.3 million annually in running costs as well as reduce the county’s carbon footprint – but executive member for highways and transport, Stuart Pile, admitted that it will concern some residents.

He explained that the county council was, “investing to save” and needed to make an initial outlay to buy the equipment – known as photocells – that will allow street lights in parts of Herts to be switched off between midnight and 6am.

He went on: “In Hertfordshire we have 115,000 street lights, which cost around �10 million a year to run.

“At the moment, electricity costs alone account for a third of the street lighting budget and we’re expecting electricity charges to double in the next two to three years.

“Also the energy used is responsible for around 22,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.”

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Cllr Pile stressed that while the county council was aware of concerns about the proposals, the safety and well being of residents and motorists was very important.

“Areas where there is pedestrian activity, such as town centres, will remain lit throughout the night. Lights will remain on at major road junctions and sites where there is a history of accidents. We are working closely with the police to develop the best approach for areas with higher crime rates.”

He said they had looked at the findings from other councils around the country which had already introduced part-night lighting or turned off lights completely.

He added: “I can reassure residents that the evidence from other areas in which these measures have been introduced show that levels of crime and numbers of traffic accidents do not increase.”