Streetlight switch offs branded "reckless"

By Kevin Unitt Tuesday 23 October 2012 Updated: 25/10 13:12

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SWITCHING off Warwick's street lights from December 1 has been described as a “reckless” policy.

Warwickshire County Council's ruling Tories pushed through plans to switch-off the area's street lights at a cabinet meeting on Thursday (October 18), just days after revealing they wanted to bring forward the switch-off in the Warwick area from April next year to this December.

Liberal Democrat county councillors have spoken out over the late change of timetable.

Transport and highways spokesman, the Wellesbourne councillor David Johnston, said: “While we’ve broadly supported the switch off plan based on the original timetable of April 1, to implement such a change in December is reckless.

“Christmas and New Year are the busiest periods of the year for late night revellers, often making their way home on foot. We are asking the Conservative administration to delay implementation until early in the New Year.”

Fellow Lib Dem county councillor for Kenilworth, John Whitehouse, added that the question of accelerating the timetable had never been mentioned in previous meetings, even though it had clearly been under active consideration.

The county council said it wanted to bring forward the timetable to begin making early financial and carbon emission savings.

On December 1, Warwick would be the first area to switch street lights off between midnight and 5.30am, followed by Nuneaton and Bedworth and Rugby next February, and North Warwickshire and Stratford in April.

The county council currently spends £2.2 million a year on energy for street lighting and they anticipate a possible saving of £500,000 a year as a result of the switch-offs – between midnight and 5.30am.

Coun Peter Butlin, county council highways chief, said: “It makes sense to bring the timetable forward rather than sit and wait for April to arrive, and by doing this we will save our taxpayers £102,000 plus a reduction of 551 tonnes of carbon.”

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