Basildon calls to delay blackout plans

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The Council is requesting that the introduction of the initiative be: deferred in the borough in order to carry out further consultation and research among local communities so the impact on areas can be properly understood.

Essex County Council (ECC) has been running a pilot scheme in Maldon and Uttlesford since 2007, with street lights being switched off for five hours each night, between midnight and 5am. ECC says the pilot demonstrated no negative impact on crime statistics or road collisions as a result of the changes.

The lights went out in Chelmsford earlier this month and ECC plans to roll out part-night street-lighting in the remaining eight districts and boroughs by February 2014.

Commenting on the proposal Cllr John Dornan, cabinet member for environment on Basildon Council, said: “We are very concerned about the impact this will have on local residents and businesses. This is an issue that goes to the heart of our pledge to create opportunity and the promises we have made to deliver on that.

“We have promised to get the basics right and that means keeping our streets clean and safe – I am not sure how this helps!

“We have promised to look for better services from partners like the County Council – this is not better service!

“We have promised to support the local economy – we need to be very clear this will not damage our local economy and we do not yet have that information!

“And finally we have promised to positively transform our borough – I am not sure how plunging our streets into darkness will help do this!

“In short we believe this plan is ill-conceived and premature. It might be a good idea but we need evidence and I have seen none of it yet.
We are therefore calling on the County Council to put its plans for our borough on hold until we can gather that evidence. Anything else is unacceptable to the people and business of Basildon.”

There is an exemption criteria in place which includes town centres, key road junctions and lighting installed on safety grounds for accident cluster sites. The deadline for consultation responses for the remaining eight districts and boroughs is 27 September.

If residents wish to suggest an area that should be excluded from the scheme they are requested to do so via their parish/town council, district/borough/city councillor or county councillor, so that it can be considered as part of the consultation process.

The current schedule will see the part night lighting hit Basildon on 1 November. The remaining districts are slated to become part of the scheme on:

  • Basildon & Colchester – 1 November 2013
  • Epping Forest & Castle Point – 1 December 2013
  • Rochford & Tendring – 1 January 2014
  • Brentwood & Harlow – 1 February 2014

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