Council, leave our lights alone!

THE Crow has launched a campaign to say no to Herts County Council’s (HCC) plans to plunge Royston into darkness overnight.

Street lights across North Herts will be permanently switched off from midnight to 6am in a move by the Conservative-controlled authority.

Residential streets are the target of the cash-saving initiative which is scheduled to start from mid May in North Herts, depending on progress in Stevenage and St Albans districts.

In total, 9,000 lights will be turned off in North Herts, leaving neighbourhoods in the dark and potentially increasing the risk of accidents and crime.

Only 30 per cent of street lighting will remain on in the district.

Les Baker, spokesman for The Royston Labour Party, said: “Switching this amount of residential lighting off will cause a rise in crime and accidents.

“It’s a cost cutting exercise where we will see street lights switched off in normal residential areas. We don’t know how much it costs to switch them off and how much of a saving the county council expects to make.

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“A reduction in street lighting may save a small amount of money but for the sake of people’s safety.”

Mr Baker also questioned how the county council decided what lights to turn off.

The county council has defended the move and says a consultation will help decide which roads are not illuminated.

A spokesman said: “As you may be aware, in November 2010 your local county council approved changes to the county’s street lighting policy, designed to reduce the council’s energy bill and carbon emissions.

“Like all public sector organisations, we must consider which services should be prioritised in light of the current constraint on public spending. Before lights are converted in a specific area, we will discuss proposals with your local county councillor, so they can provide a local perspective. We are also working closely with the police to develop the best approach for areas with higher crime rates.”

Tell us your views on the big switch off, do you think it will affect you? Have you got an opinion you want Crow Country to hear? Get in touch on or send a letter to Royston Crow, Thomas Morris, 6 Melbourn Street, Royston, Herts, SG8 7BX.