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Lib Dems Welcome New Direction on Street Lighting

November 13, 2014 1:20 PM

Street LightsThe Liberal Democrats have welcomed a change in direction from the Tories at Leicestershire County Council. The Tory-led Cabinet is set to approve plans to invest in LEDs and other green technology using reserves and capital receipts, despite strongly opposing such plans earlier in the year.

In February, the Medium Term Financial Strategy included proposals for a £1.245 million cut to the street lighting budget over the next four years. With many areas having already lost street lighting after midnight, there were fears that these further cuts would lead to many street lights being removed altogether, even during evening hours.

Lib Dem Environment Spokesperson David Bill said, "There was a lot of concern from local residents over their street lights. For many it was bad enough having the lights switch off after midnight. The thought of having no lights during dark winter evenings was totally unacceptable!

Nearly one and half thousand people have signed our petition to protect Leicestershire's street lights. We're pleased to see their voices being heard."

The Liberal Democrats put forward proposals that some of the Council's £100m reserves be used to invest in LED and other green technology to save the money through energy efficiencies rather than turning lights out. The proposals got an initially frosty reception from the Tories at Leicestershire County Council, but Cabinet is now set to approve recommendations to build a business case for the £25m investment. It's hoped that the energy savings from this new technology will be in excess of £2m per year.

Lib Dem Leader Simon Galton said, "Twice at Full Council meetings we put forward motions and amendments calling for the Council to use its reserves to invest in green technology, reducing energy usage and saving money on electricity bills without having to switch lights off altogether.

The Tories were initially quite hostile to the idea, seeming to be dead set on turning out street lights, putting their view of the night sky above public safety. I'm glad they've finally come to see what's more important."