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Bid to turn off street lights sparks ‘serious concerns’ over burglaries

PUBLISHED: 09:00 31 March 2012

»The lights could go out in Brentwood if plans by Essex County Council are approved.

The authority is beginning consultations in every district in the county to decide whether or not to turn out the street lights during the night to save money and energy costs.

It estimates that switching off lights between midnight and 5am would reduce carbon emissions by 8,000 tonnes a year.

Town centres, “key” road junctions and accident hotspots won’t be left in darkness.

It has been testing the scheme in Maldon and Uttlesford since 2007, and says it has saved £70,000 a year.

‘Sensitive’

County councillor Tracey Chapman, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “The move to part-night lighting across the county will deliver significant reductions to our carbon emissions and energy expenditure.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly, with a pilot scheme running in two of our districts since 2007.

“We will also be consulting in each district before implementing the scheme, to ensure that we are sensitive to local street-lighting needs.”

But county and borough councillor David Kendall (Lib Dem, Pilgrims Hatch), criticised the proposal.

He said: “We have serious concerns about this.

“We’re very concerned about antisocial behaviour and also burglaries as there has been quite an increase in burglaries in the last few months, and we don’t think it would be right for Brentwood.”

A spokesman for Essex County Council said that the number of recorded crimes fell during the night time switch-off in Maldon and Uttlesford, and that there was no significant increase in traffic collisions.

The council also plans to centrally control all street lights across the county so they can be switched on and off from a single base.


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