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Street lights switch-off D-Day

PUBLISHED: 14:22 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:52 30 June 2010

A last-ditch bid will be made next week to stop controversial plans to switch off thousands of street lights after midnight.

Norfolk County Council wants to turn off up to 7,800 lights in Norwich between midnight and 5am as part of proposals to save money and reduce carbon emissions.

A last-ditch bid will be made next week to stop controversial plans to switch off thousands of street lights after midnight.

Norfolk County Council wants to turn off up to 7,800 lights in Norwich between midnight and 5am as part of proposals to save money and reduce carbon emissions.

The proposal sparked anger in Norwich, where critics warned it would lead to an increase in crime, or at the very least, an increased fear of crime.

There was less opposition from more rural areas and Norfolk County Council last month agreed to the proposal, which will see 27,000 street lights across Norfolk partially switched off over the next three years to save £167,000 a year and reduce County Hall's carbon footprint by 1,000 tonnes a year.

The council agreed some streets would not be suitable for the switch off, including main roads, streets with CCTV, ones with traffic calming and places where police could show there would be an increase in crime without lighting.

However, opponents called in the decision at a meeting of the council's cabinet scrutiny committee because they were not happy with how the exemptions would be decided and what level of consultation there would be with people affected.

At a meeting of county council cabinet on Monday the cabinet will be asked to take on board an amendment to the agreed policy, which was put forward at the scrutiny meeting by John Dobson, Conservative councillor for Dersingham.

That amendment, agreed by councillors on the scrutiny panel, approves the delegation of the decision on individual streets to Mike Jackson, the director of environment, transport and development and Adrian Gunson, cabinet member for planning and transportation, after “due consultation with local people through their elected representatives.”

But Andrew Boswell, leader of the Green group, who originally called the proposal into scrutiny in partnership with James Joyce, Liberal Democrat councillor for Reepham, said he would rather have seen a cross-party panel set up to decide exemptions.

And Bert Bremner, Labour county councillor for Norwich's university division and a fierce critic of the plans, intends to attend the meeting and call for a halt to the proposals.

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