Essex County Council to review street light switch off, following Lib Dem "call in"

September 4, 2013 11:35 PM

Street lightsEssex 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, following a decision by the Conservative-run Council. 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 do that AND 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 Conservative 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.