Turn that light out!

October 24, 2011 1:51 PM

It's around 10 o'clock in the evening, and it's been a long day, so you decide to go for a couple of beers at your local pub to unwind. You get chatting to some friends, and you leave at midnight. Because you are a responsible citizen, you left your car at home, and made the 15 minute journey there and back on foot.

Sound familiar? I'm sure many of us have done this before. The only problem if you live in Derbyshire is next year the council may have decided to switch off the street lighting, so you may need a torch to find your way back.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="205" caption="(but not after midnight!)"][/caption]

This is the latest wheeze from Derbyshire County Council to save money, although when you read comments from Cllr Simon Spencer, cabinet member for highways and transport, it seems he is more interested in reducing carbon emissions than protecting the safety and security of council taxpayers.

According to a report in the Yorkshire Post, Derbyshire County Council is responsible for 89,000 street lights, but the council has drawn up proposals to turn off 40,000 of them between midnight and 5.30 am, and around 900 permanently. Senior councillors have stated this will save 2,000 tonnes of carbon every year - the equivalent of taking 625 cars of the road. With costs of motoring rising, and drivers collectively being overtaxed by £17.9 billion a year, I imagine those 625 cars will come off the road anyway, as people struggle to pay their bills.

It is estimated switching the lights off will save £200K a year. If the council would like any suggestions on how to save that amount, it can look at our Town Hall Rich List, or its own accounts. In 2009/10, there were 103 council officers earning in excess of £50K a year. This figure rose in 2010/11, to 126, despite a pay freeze. Rather than looking inside its organisation, and reducing the tiers of management, it instead looks at ways that will impact on front-line services - and street lighting is surely one of the most basic front-line services there is.

If you want to have your say on this matter, you can do so by contacting the council. You have until 6 December.It's around 10 o'clock in the evening, and it's been a long day, so you decide to go for a couple of beers at your local pub to unwind. You get chatting to some friends, and you leave at midnight. Because you are a responsible citizen, you left your car at home, and made the 15 minute journey there and back on foot.

Sound familiar? I'm sure many of us have done this before. The only problem if you live in Derbyshire is next year the council may have decided to switch off the street lighting, so you may need a torch to find your way back.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="205" caption="(but not after midnight!)"][/caption]

This is the latest wheeze from Derbyshire County Council to save money, although when you read comments from Cllr Simon Spencer, cabinet member for highways and transport, it seems he is more interested in reducing carbon emissions than protecting the safety and security of council taxpayers.

According to a report in the Yorkshire Post, Derbyshire County Council is responsible for 89,000 street lights, but the council has drawn up proposals to turn off 40,000 of them between midnight and 5.30 am, and around 900 permanently. Senior councillors have stated this will save 2,000 tonnes of carbon every year - the equivalent of taking 625 cars of the road. With costs of motoring rising, and drivers collectively being overtaxed by £17.9 billion a year, I imagine those 625 cars will come off the road anyway, as people struggle to pay their bills.

It is estimated switching the lights off will save £200K a year. If the council would like any suggestions on how to save that amount, it can look at our Town Hall Rich List, or its own accounts. In 2009/10, there were 103 council officers earning in excess of £50K a year. This figure rose in 2010/11, to 126, despite a pay freeze. Rather than looking inside its organisation, and reducing the tiers of management, it instead looks at ways that will impact on front-line services - and street lighting is surely one of the most basic front-line services there is.

If you want to have your say on this matter, you can do so by contacting the council. You have until 6 December.

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