Oct 12 2011 By Lawrence Poole
Keep the Lights On campaign
THE Advertiser can confirm the battle to keep street lights across the county switched on has been won.
In January we launched our 'Keep The Lights' turned on campaign after it was mooted Bucks County Council were considering turning off an extra 10,000 lights to save £77,000.
Residents and road safety groups backed our campaign and we presented hundreds of letters to the council supporting our bid.
The lights would have been switched off, or dimmed, between midnight and 5.30am and come on top of the 1,600 lights already switched off in 46 areas across the county as part of a three-year trial.
The trial has just finished and cabinet member for transport Peter Hardy has confirmed there are no plans to turn any further lights off.
He said: "It's not in my plans to look at switching off any more street lights - and I don't see any other wholesale switch offs taking place. We're pleased with how the trial has gone and we will continue to look at ways to save energy and money."
On the recent trial, he said: "It's been a success for the Bucks taxpayers as we've saved £250,000 in three years and we hope to save a further £430,000 over the next five.
Of the 46 sites, 32 will continue to be switched off before a final decision is made, eight are still under review and six have been switched back on already.
Cllr Hardy added: "They include the A413 from the Kingsway roundabout to the railway viaduct where there's a bad accident record and the A40 from the A412 to Denham roundabout, which was suspended as part of the trial due to bridge removal.
"The number of collisions has actually come down during the trial compared to the three years before - so on balance it was a very good thing to do."
Graham Young of Chalfont St Peter, who has written to the Advertiser about the street lighting issue, said: "This is good news. It looks like common sense has prevailed.
"Turning off more lights would have been a disaster for drivers, so I'm pleased that those proposals have disappeared - I still think that more lights could be switched back on, but this is at least a start."
Fiona Sharpe, 47, of Chalfont St Giles said: "It was a crazy idea to suggest switching off more lights, and I was one of the people who signed the Advertiser's petition.
"I'm pleased that BCC has actually listened to what we had to say. I think a lot of people thought that they would just push ahead with it regardless.
"Hopefully now they'll start to turn on some of the other lights which have been switched off."
Michael Willis, 53, of Gerrards Cross, said: "There was such a strength of feeling on this issue that I think BCC would have made themselves incredibly unpopular if they'd pushed ahead with the plans.
"When you've got hundreds of people telling you not to do something, you really need to listen, and so I'm pleased that this has happened.
"The last thing that drivers in this area want are more lights switched off, so it's a very good thing that the plans have been scrapped."
Cllr Mike Colston, BCC councillor for Great Missenden, has promised to keep campaigning to have lights switched on his area.
He said: "The A413 at the junction with Aylesbury Road has been part of the street lights trial which has just finished and there has been no real incidents.
"I will still be campaigning for the lights to be put back on though as I have fears about that road - it can be quite dangerous particularly when it's dark and the weather's bad. When you are budgeting though, officers have to go on evidence and be evidence-based."
The council have made their recommendations on the trial and will now consult on them from Monday (October 17) to December 11 - to see the consultation go to: www.buckscc.gov.uk/haveyoursay