Harlow’s street lights to be switched back on at night

Harlow Council and Essex County Council have agreed to keep Harlow’s street lights on all night seven days a week.

Essex County Council has accepted Harlow Council’s offer to fund street lights staying on all night every night in Harlow starting from when the clocks went back on Sunday (25 October). In February 2015, Harlow Council agreed as part of its 2015/16 budget to increase its council tax by 1.5% to pay to keep street lights on subject to Essex County Council’s agreement.

The cost to Harlow Council will be just under £106,000 a year starting from 25 October 2015, and the costs will be reviewed annually at the end of October for the next four years. The agreement between the two councils will see Harlow Council pay for the additional electricity and arising CO2 emissions with Essex County Council continuing to be responsible for the maintenance of the lights.

In Harlow, Essex County Council is responsible for 9,005 lights* with around 85% per cent being switched off overnight since March 2014 between midnight to 5am under its part-night street lighting policy. The county council’s policy was amended across the county in March 2015 with lights switching off between midnight and 5am one day a week and from 1am to 5am six days a week.

Councillor Jon Clempner, leader of Harlow Council, said: “Keeping Harlow’s street lights on responds to the genuine concerns of the community and businesses, and takes into account Harlow’s needs as a urban town.

“Many shift workers walking to or cycling to and from work want to see where they are going and that is the same for the many people returning home from a night out leading up to or during the weekend. We know this will have a positive impact on businesses and that the fear of crime, particularly at night, will reduce for some of our older residents.

Essex County Council leader, Cllr David Finch added: “This is a good example of devolution in practice, where the county council is listening to local communities and identifying ways to devolve responsibility to district partners.”

Essex County Council’s cabinet member for highways delivery, Cllr Eddie Johnson, commented: “This is a great example of collaborative working with Harlow Council to meet local priorities. This announcement is important for Harlow – it will see the lights turned back on and the county council still delivering savings for taxpayers.”

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