VILLAGE leaders say the street lights they own will remain on at night even as county council bosses turn off those they are responsible for.
Herts County Council decided in November last year that it will switch off the majority of its street lights between midnight and 6am.
The change, which was timetabled to begin from this month, will cut the council’s energy bill by up to £1.3m, bosses expect.
The changes will be brought in across Dacorum from winter this year until spring 2012.
But members of Northchurch Parish Council said during a meeting on Monday that they will not follow suit with the 38 village street lights that they own.
Chairman Alan Fantham said: “Quite a lot of street lights in Northchurch are, in fact, owned, financed and kept alight by the parish council.
“There are no plans to switch off the Northchurch Parish Council lights. We will continue to pay the money to operate them.”
He said the group owns and manages street lights in Dudswell, Darr’s Lane, Northchurch Common, Covert Road and Lyme Avenue.
Mr Fantham said it would take two-and-a-half to three years before Herts County Council could make the savings from limiting the use of street lights.
He said they are now operated on light sensors that make them go on and off with daylight levels, which would cost a lot of money to change.
After the meeting, he said: “I can’t see the logic of spending X million pounds and having to wait for several years before you can even get your money back.”
He said years ago the parish council had asked householders living near its street lights if they would like them turned off – and not one had said yes.
He said about 30 people were asked in the survey.
But during the meeting, councillor Janette Dunbavand said: “Personally I would love it if they were switched off.
“I have lived in Darr’s Lane all my life and it is a country lane and should remain like that, with natural light only.”
Councillor Allison Lee said she did not like the idea of switching street lights off
But she said a county councillor had told her it could mean less crime because people would not be able to see as clearly to break into people’s homes and property.
Mr Fantham, her partner, said some women had told him they were more afraid of crime while it is dark outside.
County council spokesman Tom Shipp said it would cost £4m to convert the street lights initially.
He added: “We are going to save a lot of money over the next 10, 15 or 20 years.”
For more information on the Herts street lighting plans, visit the website www.hertsdirect.org/services/transtreets/highways/streetlightenergy
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