Talks before leap in the dark

PUBLISHED: 12:41 03 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:45 31 May 2010

I refer to Cllr Menell s letter (Postbag, July 27) regarding Essex County Council s decision to turn off the street lighting during the night. Liberal Democrats have for many years been promoting the saving of our resources. Under our leadership the distr

I refer to Cllr Menell's letter (Postbag, July 27) regarding Essex County Council's decision to turn off the street lighting during the night.

Liberal Democrats have for many years been promoting the saving of our resources. Under our leadership the district council has launched a wide range of initiatives designed to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions.

So we are keen to work with the county council to look at what can be achieved in relation to street lighting.

But we also need to consider public safety.

Where lighting is necessary to ensure safety, then it should not be switched off. We need full consultation with the local community before anything is agreed.

Our concern is that Essex County Council announced that Uttlesford would be a pilot without even talking to Uttlesford District Council first. What we need is a joint initiative between our local councils that recognises local concerns, not the county council acting independently.

It appears the police were not consulted either. Town and parish councils also need to be involved. The county council also proposed implementation in September, which would not give enough time for meaningful consultation.

In the last few days we have met the county council, and secured promises that they will work with us and allow time for full consultation, rather than rushing in blindly. I hope that we can work together to find a solution that does enable us to conserve energy and help the environment, without prejudicing public safety.

Cllr Mark Gayler, Leader of Uttlesford District Council

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