Solution to street lighting is unfair’

PUBLISHED: 07:12 25 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:08 31 May 2010

SAFFRON Walden town councillor Mike Hibbs is calling on Essex County Council to listen to concerns over plans to switch off street lighting. Cllr Rodney Bass, ECC s cabinet member for highways, has agreed to look again at the needs of the town as part of

SAFFRON Walden town councillor Mike Hibbs is calling on Essex County Council to listen to concerns over plans to switch off street lighting.

Cllr Rodney Bass, ECC's cabinet member for highways, has agreed to look again at the needs of the town as part of plans to turn off the lights from midnight across the district.

But Cllr Hibbs is disappointed the town council has not been consulted, despite suggesting alternatives to the proposals.

"If the county council wants to be seen to be communicating with the community then it needs to take part in a dialogue with us and listen to our suggestions," Cllr Hibbs said.

"We've suggested alternatives such as installing dimmers on the lights and switching off every other light, but we've had no reply from ECC or Cllr Bass and that's very disappointing."

Cllr Hibbs is suspicious the county council's silence means it is more worried about saving money than the environment.

"The suspicion is that this is just about saving money, as more imaginative solutions are needed if this issue was about saving energy," he said.

"The town council is also concerned about the suggestion that Saffron Walden should receive special treatment as this is unfair on other districts.

"We have been working with Stansted, Dunmow and Thaxted's town councils on this issue and it would be unfair to treat different parts of the district differently."

Cllr Hibbs said a letter had been sent to Saffron Walden's county Cllr Robert Chambers, with regard to the measures but the town council still opposes the switching off of the lights.

"On the basis of the limited information given in that letter, the town council is still opposed to the proposals," he said.

Cllr Bass was unavailable for comment at the time of going to print, but last month said he was anxious to consider local concerns.

"We will look at running a sub-pilot within the pilot, and are now more likely to implement the proposals in Saffron Walden town towards the end of the introduction of the pilot, in February or March," he said.

"We are trying to conduct a thorough, fair investigation and are anxious to resolve local problems."

Opposition to the plans, which are intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and light pollution, has led to the possibility of Saffron Walden's streetlights being switched off from 1am, not from 12am as had been originally planned.

However, the rest of the district will still have its lights switched off from midnight.

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