Labour group in Tendring table budget change to keep street lights on
Opposition members of Tendring District Council (TDC) will be tabling an amendment to the authority’s budget for next year in a bid to get street lights switched back on.
Street lights across Essex are turned off between midnight and 5am, except in town centres and at dangerous road junctions, as part of a cost- and energy-saving measure by Essex County Council.
The Labour group at TDC have long opposed the move, and previously put forward a motion to the council calling on the authority to use some of its reserves to pay County Hall the £127,000 it saves to keep the light on during the period of switch-off.
This motion was referred to the cabinet at the Conservative-led council for further consideration, but has not yet been ruled on.
Now Labour in Tendring want to make sure the money – up to £150,000 to cover any unseen costs – is set aside in next year’s budget for the move.
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Ivan Henderson, Labour group leader, said: “We shouldn’t have to pay twice for our street lights but until the Tories accept this dreadful policy is increasing crime, increasing accidents and is having a negative impact on pubs and restaurants we have little choice.
“People are suffering because the Tories won’t admit they’ve got it wrong.
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“The Tories at County Hall have switched off our street lights and the Tendring Tories seem determined to try to stop us switching them back on.
“It’s time they all stopped trying to defend the indefensible and listened to the people who elected them.”
Labour say the council has enough reserves to fund the measure without having to increase council tax.
When the switch-off was introduced in Tendring just over a year ago it proved controversial.
Many residents had concerns the crime rate would rise, despite Essex Police not opposing the scheme and saying there was no evidence crime rates had risen in the pilot areas.
Some have maintained that even if the crime rate did not rise the fear of crime would, and also said there was an increased risk to shift workers who would need to travel in the darkness.
In November people who opposed the scheme across the county tied a yellow ribbon to their street light as part of a protest calling for the lights to be switched back on.
However some support the scheme citing less light pollution and backing the green benefits, while others have called for LED technology to be introduced to allow the lights to be kept on while maintaining the benefits.
Full council meets on Tuesday to vote on the budget.