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Don't switch off our street lights!

PUBLISHED: 19:34 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:33 30 June 2010

CONCERNS over crime and security have led borough councillors to demand some of the threatened street lights be saved.

Norfolk county council cabinet last month announced plans to switch off 27,000 street lights across the county between midnight and 5am to save £167,000.

CONCERNS over crime and security have led borough councillors to demand some of the threatened street lights be saved.

Norfolk county council cabinet last month announced plans to switch off 27,000 street lights across the county between midnight and 5am to save £167,000.

But in the north Great Yarmouth area alone, this will affect 396 of the 487 lights the county owns.

At a Yarmouth area scrutiny committee on Wednesday, councillors discussed a range of options for reducing the carbon footprint, including introducing security lighting which switched on and off - and where the lights under threat were.

Cllr Mick Castle said: “I think we can make a proposition to the county council that we don't like the idea of turning the lights off in the Yarmouth area. In a holiday resort, with people working anti-social hours, we just don't think it is right.”

And councillors agreed there had not been a proper consultation by the county authority.

County Hall says lights will be kept on in main roads, in city centres and in high crime areas, while exemptions will be applied to stop lights being switched off in areas with CCTV and where police say turning them out would increase crime.

Cllr Micheal Jeal said the county council had already run up a huge electricity bill by keeping lights switched on all the time, including one in Admiralty Road, which he had complained about.

In response, he said, council staff told him that the county paid a lump sum for its lights bill and it did not matter whether they were switched on or not.

However, Simon Mutten, the borough council's services manager, said the lump sum paid by the county was affected by the length of time the lights would be switched on.

He spoke about the situation in north Yarmouth, where there are 1,477 lights in total, of which the 990 owned by the borough council would be staying switched on, therefore the impact of the switch off would not be as great as first feared.

On the issue of security lighting, Mr Mutten said the cost of installing security equipment was prohibitive and would take many years to recoup through energy savings.

For a full list of streets in the Mercury's circulation area where lights are threatened with being switched off, visit www.yarmouthmercury24.co.uk.

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