Village streetlights to be switched off

STREETLIGHTS in West Hallam, Stanton-by-Dale and Dale Abbey will be switched off between 12midnight and 5.30am from December, the county council has announced this week.

Lights will be turned out in 68 communities across Derbyshire – including the three villages – in stages until May 2013.

Opponents of the scheme, which is aimed at reducing Derbyshire County Council’s carbon footprint and saving taxpayers’ money, have said it could increase crime and make road accidents more likely.

Chairman of Erewash Labour group Helen Clarke said it could cause a repeat of the high profile death of Gary Tomkins on an unlit road last April.

The coroner said that the lack of streetlights had been a factor in the young man’s death.

“The news from Milton Keynes shows what happens when politicians follow ideological diktat from Westminster instead of listening to their own communities,” said Ms Clarke.

“No lights have been switched off yet – that’s how it should stay.”

But the council has defended its plans, saying it could save £400,000 a year in energy bills and avoid charges of up to £220,000 from the Government for excessive carbon emissions.

Cllr Simon Spencer, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We won’t switch off all street lights but as most people are in bed between midnight and 5.30am we believe some lighting isn’t needed.”

Assessments will be carried out in each area to decide which lights could be switched off and which should be kept on. This will be from July in Erewash.

Plans will be available to view in the villages from October and residents will be able to comment online or in writing to the county council.

The full programme can be seen at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/streetlights.