Essex Council could switch back ON 90,000 street lights

Essex Council could switch back ON 90,000 street lights in wake of Sarah Everard’s death – seven years after plunging county into darkness to save £1m-a-year and forcing people to use TORCHES when walking home at night

  • Essex County Council switched off 70% of street lights in 2017 to save £1m
  • Move sparked anger with three local councils negotiating to keep lights on
  • Council is set to review decision following the disappearance and murder of Sarah Everard in Clapham, south London

A council is considering turning 90,000 street lights back on in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder.

Essex County Council said it will review the move to pull the plug on the lampposts which was brought in seven years ago to save over £1million and protect the environment.

The Tory-run local authority is under pressure to U-turn from politicians, local neighbourhood watch groups and charities.

It comes after Sarah Everard, 33, went missing while walking home from her friend’s house in Clapham, south London, earlier this month.

Essex County Council said it will review the move to pull the plug on the lampposts which was brought in seven years ago to save over £1million and protect the environment (stock photo)

Met police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with murder and kidnap after the marketing executive’s body was found in a builder’s bag in a Kent woodland. 

The Conservatives at Essex County Council flicked the switch in 2014, darkening more than 70 per cent of its 129,000 streetlights between midnight and 5am. 

The switch-off sparked protests and Harlow, Basildon and Epping local councils negotiated to keep some or all of the lights in their boroughs on.

Labour group leader Ivan Henderson said the lights should be turned back on for ‘safety and wellbeing’.

He said: ‘Many women have to get up early hours and go to work and they are fearful of coming out of their street and putting their key in their car door.

‘Where is the risk assessment for those who have no choice but to work in early hours in that pitch darkness?’

It comes after Sarah Everard, 33, went missing while walking home from her friend’s house in Clapham, south London, earlier this month

Tory cabinet member Louise McKinlay said an advisory board would look at safety issues including lights.

Ms McKinlay said: ‘I think we would be really missing an opportunity here if we suggested just turning the lights on would solve this, but I am listening to women.’

She added the policy had last been reviewed in 2017 and claimed setting up the safety advisory board was ‘not just a knee-jerk reaction’.

An Essex Police Fire and Crime Commissioner report in 2017 found there was no link between the policy and a rise in crime.

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