Hertfordshire streetlights could stay on longer, according to council proposals

PUBLISHED: 12:26 02 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:26 02 December 2019

Streetlights in Hertfordshire could stay on longer from 2020. Picture: Danny Loo

Streetlights in Hertfordshire could stay on longer from 2020. Picture: Danny Loo

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Hertfordshire County Council has signalled that it is to review its street lighting policy, paving the way for streets in some areas to be lit until 2am.

Currently, only street lights on the county's network of 'A' roads and some other localities are lit throughout the night.

In most areas, the 'part-night lighting policy' means lights are switched off between 1am and 5am, after being progressively dimmed from 9pm.

Council officers estimate this policy - combined with the move to full LED street lights - has saved £5 million a year on electricity costs, and cut carbon emissions from streetlighting by 60 per cent - equivalent to 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Now, it has emerged the council is looking to make further changes to the system, which could mean some streetlights are kept on for longer - until 2am - where there is 'local justification'.

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New proposals could also mean streetlights are dimmed between 5am and 6am, further reducing the cost to the council and the environment.

On Thursday, a review of streetlight policy was backed by members of the county council's highways cabinet panel. If approved, council officers will draw up a process to determine how requests for extended lighting would be determined.

According to data presented to the meeting, the cost of keeping streetlights on until 2am, at 20 per cent power, would cost around £17,000 a year,

However, it is thought dimming streetlights by 30 per cent between 5am and 6am could save the council £18,100 a year - and dimming by 50 per cent could save £30,200.

At the meeting of the cabinet panel, Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst suggested 2am should become the default position, with justification needed to revert to 1am. He also suggested that plans to dim the street lights between 5am and 6am could be implemented immediately.

However, Cllr Phil Bibby, executive member for highways and environment, rejected the calls for immediate implementation as a "knee-jerk reaction".

Cllr Bibby also said he did not believe there was an overwhelming requirement to turn the lights on until 2am. He said "one man walking a dog between 1am and 2am would not fit the criteria of overwhelming need."

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