By Kevin Unitt Thursday 11 October 2012 Updated: 12/10 08:08
FURTHER doubts have been cast on plans to switch off Warwickshire's street lights at night ahead of a crunch meeting on the proposals.
Warwickshire County Council's cabinet will decide whether to give the long-talked about scheme the green light at a meeting on Thursday afternoon, October 18.
But following on from concerns lives could be put at risk and crime increase if it goes ahead, even more doubts have been voiced.
Cubbington parish councillor David Saul told The Observer this week: “I just cannot believe this could still be happening.
“Many people might not know that this street light switch off has been tried in Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes and all those councils have since gone back on the decision due to various problems. I would hope our county council will take that on board.
“I am also confused as to why some villages, such as Bishops Tachbrook, won't have their lights switched off, yet in Cubbington ours will go, despite concerns over crime in certain areas.
“The whole idea just doesn't make sense to me."
We have previously reported concerns over the proposed switch off, including fears emergency services could face a more difficult job responding to 999 calls.
But Warwickshire County Council insisted that in emergencies police could still request lights be switched back on, while public alleyways and cycle paths located away from roads would remain lit.
The authority also said it currently spent £2.2 million a year on energy for street lighting but switching off most of its 49,500 lights at night - between midnight and 5.30am - would save £500,000 a year and drastically reduce Co2 emissions.
Responding to concerns raised by Coun Saul, a spokeswoman added: “Our report takes into account the experiences of other local authorities. Milton Keynes is not a fair comparison as it's a very different road system where pedestrians use highways not footways so lights are left on for their safety. Buckinghamshire turned off lights at major roundabouts which has proved problematic - a strategy never in our plans.
“As for Bishops Tachbrook, its lights are operated by Warwick District Council so we have no control over them. The decision to implement a part night switch-off in Cubbington was taken as part of a programme carefully considered.”
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/partnightlighting for more details on the plans.
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