St Albans council criticised for leaving office lights on over festive period

Switch off the lights!

Switch off the lights! - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Residents were left bemused over the Christmas period as lights remained on in St Albans’ council offices.

The top two floors of the building on St Peter’s street appeared to stay lit constantly between December 24 and 30, despite the offices being shut for the festive period.

A nearby resident said the darkened streets made the lighting in the offices even more frustrating.

“If I want to walk to a friends house then I have to walk in the dark, but yet the lights remained on for the whole time while the officers were uninhabited.

“We had friends over during that time and they were very intrigued by it all.

“I’d be very interested to see how much this is costing the taxpayer.”

Richard Shwe, Head of Community Services for St Albans City and District Council, said: “The Civic Office lights are operated by motion timers and only come on in each department when they detect someone moving around. They turn off after a short period when they leave.

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“Staff were working at night while the offices were closed to the public during the Christmas and New Year holidays. These included the police, CCTV operators and on-call enforcement teams dealing with issues such as noise disturbance.

“It is likely someone was working in the building when the resident saw the lights on.

“The Council has reduced energy consumption at its offices in recent years and is looking at further improvements. We are committed to environmental sustainability and financial efficiency.”

In recent years the council has been criticised by turning off streetlights in certain areas of the town for extended periods of time.