Suffolk street lights set to go out to save cash

PROPOSALS to switch off or dim tens of thousands of street lights across Suffolk have been approved by the county council yesterday with barely a glimmer of protest.

The council’s cabinet approved the move which could save up to �490,000 a year if current projections of the cost of electricity prove correct.

An “intelligent lighting system” is to be introduced to county council-owned street lights which will switch some off between midnight and 5.30am and dim others at that time.

The move got support from most people at the meeting – members of the official opposition Liberal Democrats gave it their backing.

County councillor with responsibility for transport Guy McGregor said lights would remain on where there were real safety concerns, such as town centres and busy road junctions.

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For the LibDems both Caroline Page and John Field welcomed the move – Ms Page said it would be very good for amateur stargazers like herself.

The only concern was raised by Labour group leader Sandy Martin who feared that the streets of some estates in large towns such as Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds could be plunged into darkness at midnight.

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He said: “In towns not everyone drives everywhere and if the Chantry estate (in Ipswich) is plunged into darkness just when people are walking home from the town then that will be very bad news.”

Mr McGregor said there would be close consultation with local communities before changes were introduced, but the feedback the county had so far received was positive about the move.

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