Hertfordshire streetlight switch off to start in Welwyn Hatfield

A COUNTY-wide scheme to switch off streetlights at night in a bid to save cash will start next week in Times Territory.

From Monday, around 500 lights in the villages of Woolmer Green and Welwyn will be switched off between midnight and 6am, as Hertfordshire County Council looks to cut the local authority’s energy bill and carbon emissions.

Woolmer Green and Welwyn are the first villages to be switched off, with the rest of the borough following in July, starting in the north and gradually moving south.

County councillor Stuart Pile, executive member for highways and transport, said the scheme will save the council more than �1m a year.

“Like all public sector organisations, we must consider which services should be prioritised in light of the current constraint on public spending,” Cllr Pile wrote.

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“We are making our services as efficient as possible, but are faced with difficult choices in order to achieve savings of �200m a year.

“The changes to our streetlighting policy will help save over �1m a year, as well as reducing our carbon footprint.”

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Three years ago, the council proposed a similar pilot scheme in Codicote, to a wave of protests from residents concerned about a potential rise in traffic accidents and street crime.

But the plans seem to have found more favour this time around.

Welwyn Parish Council vice- chairman John Blackburn said: “We think it’s a good idea. I don’t think we need all the lights on all the time. Let’s see how it goes, I don’t see why not.”

And Woolmer Green parish councillor Judith Watson put the scheme into context.

“I lived through the war, when we didn’t have any light at all,” she said. “I myself don’t have a problem with it. I realise the council has to save money and this is a good way of doing it.

“People are just going to have to put up with it. I’d rather lose a few lights and see libraries stay open.”

Lights are only being switched off in areas with low traffic and pedestrian activity. Town centres and areas covered by CCTV cameras, as well as known accident blackspots and traffic calming measures, will remain illuminated.

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