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Basildon demands a halt to street light switch-off
6:00am Friday 27th September 2013 in Local News
COUNCILLORS are at loggerheads over plans to turn off streetlights, with Basildon Council saying proposals are “ill-conceived and premature”.
Essex County Council wants to turn off streetlights across the county, to save money and help the environment, but critics fear it will put public safety at risk and lead to a rise in crime.
John Dornan, Basildon Conservative councillor responsible for the environment, wants the plans halted until more consultation has taken place.
Under the proposals, about 70 per cent of Basildon’s streetlights will be turned off between midnight and 5am, from November 1.
Mr Dornan said: “At the moment, this plan is ill-conceived at best. Let’s have some due diligence.
“I know my colleagues at the county council have a difficult job to do, but this is cost saving and they must provide all the evidence in a proper risk assessment.
“We are, therefore, calling on the county council to put its plans for our borough on hold until we can gather that evidence.
“Anything else is unacceptable to the people and businesses of Basildon.”
Mr Dornan wants Basildon Council to carry out its own eight to ten-week consultation after condemning County Hall’s fourweek process, which ends tomorrow.
Basildon’s opposition Labour group has tabled a motion at tonight’s council meeting, asking for all councillors to completely oppose the move to turn out the lamps.
The Tories on the council are set to vote this down, with Mr Dornan saying you cannot argue either way about the blackout until more evidence is sought.
Castle Point Council has already voted to officially oppose the plans.
! A petition against the switch off, organised by Ukip county councillor for Basildon’s Westley Heights, Kerry Smith, has got 41 signatures so far.
To sign it, visit change.org/ en-GB/petitions/essex-county -council-leave-our-lamppost-on -at-night-in-basildon-2
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