Essex County Council will review its plans to switch off street lights, following a “call in” request from Lib Dem Highways spokesman Cllr Stephen Robinson. The review will be at the Place Services Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 26th September, 10am at County Hall, Chelmsford. (When ready, the Agenda will be here.)
Most street lights in Chelmsford and Braintree are now switched off between Midnight and 5am. The Liberal Democrat Opposition is concerned about public safety and want consideration given to other lighting technology.
Stephen Robinson said, “We think that Essex CC should consider new-style, low-energy LED lights, lights controlled by movement sensors and other technology.
“We know that the council has to save money and should also reduce its carbon footprint. But LED lights would reassure the public and be a more effective kind of lighting.”
A petition backing calls for a review has been launched at http://signme.org.uk/860
The Cabinet Member for Highways, Cllr Rodney Bass, made the formal decision on 27 August and Lib Dem Stephen Robinson then used the Council’s official “Call In” procedure. This required Cllr Bass to meet with Cllr Robinson and Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee Cllr Simon Walsh.
Following their meeting on Tuesday 3rd September, Cllr Walsh agreed to Cllr Robinson’s request for street lighting to be the main item at a Committee meeting on 26th September. Cllr Bass agreed to attend to answer questions from councillors.
Cllr Robinson added, “Unfortunately, the Conservatives do not allow the public to speak at Essex County Council meetings. So, while anyone can attend the meeting, only Councillors can ask questions. I will request that a Task & Finish Group is formed, which then CAN take evidence from the public and technical experts.”
Essex County Council plans to switch off lights across the rest of the Essex over the next few months.
Public Reaction so far
Page against the Switch Off created on Facebook Tues 3rd September (and reported in Essex Chronicle Weds 4th)
Essex Chronicle article, Monday 2nd September 2013 with a larger feature Thursday 5th September.
Essex County Council’s statement of reasons
Essex County Council’s answers to questions
Essex CC’s maps from (late 2012) showing which lights are going off in Chelmsford and in Braintree
Essex CC’s formal decision paper to switch off lights in Chelmsford & Braintree (including responses to the consultation) Decision Notice FP/265/07/13 August 2013
ECC’s Scrutiny Committee conducted an inquiry in 2009/10 into the proposals – report here from July 2010
Comments by police saying “lights off” has had no noticeable effect on crime in Hertfordshire and Dorset