A plan to switch off selected street lights overnight in parts of Lancashire has been scrapped - because it would have cost more than it saved to do it.
Lancashire County Council revealed in December that it was considering turning out 18,000 street lamps between midnight and 5am, as part of its annual budget proposals. It would have saved the authority £37,000.
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But at a meeting of the authority's cabinet to finalise plans to be put to full council next week, members were told that the change was too expensive to implement - because there was not a central bank of switches that could be thrown.
“I was led to believe that this could be done from a single point and that we could turn the lights on and off from there,” Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways said.
“Unfortunately, when it was looked into, each lamppost would have to have been visited for us to do this.”
The majority of the county’s 100,000 street lights on residential roads would have been unaffected, although the proposal originally suggested fitting the necessary technology to individual lamps to allow more of them to be turned off in the future.
Labour opposition group leader, Azhar Ali, welcomed what he described as “a U-turn”.
“I’m delighted that we have been able to force [this decision] before the budget,” he said.
“It was a crazy proposal, probably drafted on the back of a fag packet. But I do want to thank County Coun Iddon for listening to us and and securing it, especially when we have got increasing crime and the 800 police officers which have been cut from Lancashire Police.”
“This will be really welcome news to the residents of Lancashire,” he added.
But Conservative council leader, Geoff Driver, said the only reason the proposal had been scrapped was practicality, not because of any risk to public safety.
“There is no doubt in most sensible people’s minds that there is no need to keep the lights on throughout the night in many areas - we made a commitment that we would never turn the lights off if there is a danger to road safety or the community,” he said.
The meeting heard that the plan could be revisited if and when it became easier to implement.