Green light for switch-off plan

Controversial plans to switch off up to 27,000 street lights across Norfolk between midnight and 5am have been agreed, despite claims it will lead to a surge in crime.

Controversial plans to switch off up to 27,000 street lights across Norfolk between midnight and 5am have been agreed, despite claims it will lead to a surge in crime.

In the Times' area, Dereham will have 1,128 lights switched off, Fakenham 308 and Wells 55.

County council bosses say the move, over the next three years, will save �167,000 each year, while cutting the council's annual carbon emissions by about 1,000 tonnes, but critics argue crime will increase and better alternatives to the part switch-off could have been found.

The move was agreed at a stormy meeting of the county council's cabinet on Monday where tension between councillors representing rural Norfolk and urban Norwich ran high.


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A fortnight ago the Norwich area committee, made up of county councillors who represent divisions in the city, called for the decision to be delayed and a pilot scheme to be tested.

On Monday, it also emerged that, of parish councils consulted, 28 were in favour of the switch-off and 21 were against the plans.

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Cabinet members agreed to push ahead with the plans, insisting lights will not be switched off in the city centre, on major roads or in high crime areas, with a string of possible exemptions identified where lights will not be switched off.

Exemptions include streets with CCTV cameras, where lights have been installed to prevent accidents, where there are speed humps or where lights help prevent accidents, and in streets where police can show there will be an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour if they were blacked out.

The roll-out will take place over three years, when lights will be replaced with new models fitted with cells which switch off after midnight.

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