Essex County Council and Basildon Council get deal done to switch street lights back on through night

The deal to switch Basildon’s street lights back was officially signed this morning.

Street lighting engineers from the county council will start switching the lights control system back to all night from today, Friday November 8, a process that may take a few days, with the first streets lit throughout the night from tonight.

The councils have now agreed to have all-night lighting throughout Basildon until March 2020, with the intention to agree in February 2020 to four years’ further payments to keep the lights on all night until March 2024.

The annual cost initially will be approximately £275,000, however this cost should come down by as much as 40 per cent once the borough’s lights are upgraded to more cost effective and efficient LED lights – work that is scheduled to done by Essex County Council in 2020/21.

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, said: “I am delighted to have worked together with Basildon colleagues to introduce all-night street lighting in the borough.

“I look forward to continuing our work with district and borough councils so that we can continue to address the areas that matter most to residents.”

Councillor Aidan McGurran, Chair of Basildon’s External Affairs, Partnerships and Liaison Committee, said: “This deal is great news for the borough. Lighting our streets at night is a huge issue for our residents and they have told us this in no uncertain terms time and time again and we have responded by taking the action needed to get this done.

“Street lights make us all feel safer and give people, such as the many shift workers who need to be out and about during night-time, the reassurance they need.”

Streetlights outside city and town centres and busy junctions in Essex are currently switched off between 1am and 5am, known as “part-night lighting”. This makes up about 70 per cent of the 129,000 lights managed by the county council. The part-night policy was introduced to save money, energy, carbon emissions and prevent light pollution.

Basildon Council now joins Harlow, which decided to pay to have all-night lights throughout the district in 2015, and Epping Forest, where lights remain on all night in the areas around London Underground stations.

Essex Highways will continue to be responsible for maintaining the lights as before and any faults should continue to be reported online at www.essex.gov.uk/highways  

Mick Ferris

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