Liberal Democrats at Herts County Council have welcomed plans to leave residential side street lights on until 1 am but say more needs to be done.
The proposals are part of the conversion of all street lights to LED lighting but will see the lights being dimmed at 9pm and again at 11pm before being turned off at 1am.
The part-night lighting policy, which has been in place for five years had been opposed by Liberal Democrat county councillors at county hall, who have fought for local discretion to allow the lights to stay on later than midnight.
“We have always accepted that in some areas, mainly rural ones, that residents might want the lights off at midnight. But in others especially towns with a night-time economy and later arriving trains such as Watford and Stevenage, residents wanted them on later. We need to enable residents to walk home in safety with some lighting in the early hours,” said Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst. “Whilst we welcome this U-turn by the Tories – we always said midnight was too early – 1am is still not good enough for our towns.”
At Fridays’s Highways and Environment Panel at County Hall, the Liberal Democrats proposed that the lights in urban areas stay on till 2am.
They suggested any extra cost could be covered by just dimming (as is proposed for late at night) the morning lights that come on at 5am until 6am. The Conservatives rejected this move.
“Whilst we are pleased that in future, as each area is converted to LED, lighting will stay on till 1am we are disappointed that once again the Conservatives rejected local flexibly, especially as we now have the technology to allow for this. The Conservatives “one size fits all” is just wrong for all of Herts million homes.
“We shall continue to press the case for a later night turn off.” said Cllr Giles-Medhurst.