A CONTROVERSIAL scheme that plunged Essex plunged into darkness in a bid to save cash will take more than five years to claw back any savings, it has been revealed.

Residents in Tendring were furious after Essex County Council switched off street lights between midnight and 5am.

It was introduced to save money and cut carbon emissions.

But a Freedom of Information request reveals the cost to the taxpayer of financing the scheme will now rise from £6.5million to £8.1million and that there be no savings until 2020/21.

Tendring Council’s Labour group leader Ivan Henderson said: “This fiasco has already gone on far too long and the Tories at County Hall have to accept responsibility for the shambles."

Mr Henderson is now demanding that the scheme is put on hold. He is putting a motion before County Hall on July 8 calling on the council to scrap the scheme until there is a county-wide consultation and in-depth risk assessments.

A county council spokesman said: “The savings Essex County Council expects to make for residents from its investment in a wireless street light control system depend on many factors, such as changing energy prices.
“Predictions previously circulated by the council are no longer current. Up to date figures containing actual savings are to be compiled in due course.”