Robin ParkerA recent response received by Chells County Councillor Robin Parker from the Deputy Director of Environment at Hertfordshire County Council, on the issue of petitons received from Stevenage on the County Council’s Part Night Lighting scheme, states that the Council will not be doing anything to review the implementation of this unpopular policy until a lenghthy investigation by the relevant Scrutiny panel as finished which may take up to a year before it is concluded.

Commenting on this announcement, Robin Parker stated:

“There have now been at least two petitions to HCC from Stevenage, opposing the street light switch off – the one referred to here and one in spring 2012 from Stevenage Liberal Democrats.

“The response given is inadequate because effectively HCC is saying that they will do nothing now, wait for a lengthy scrutiny process to take place and make recommendations, pass these to the Cabinet, wait for their response and the response of the full county council. Effectively, this reply is postponing any decision for about a year.

“By that time, the street light switch off will have been in operation in some parts of the county for well over 2 years, and in Stevenage about 2 years. The scrutiny process was going to take place anyway (this had already been announced) and always was due to start after the whole county had experienced the street light switch off for a full year (that is, from approximately late summer 2013). So, in fact, nothing is going to happen as a result of these petitions that would not have happened anyway.

“Myself and my party have always been in favour of a much more flexible approach to the street light switch off. The switch off may be fine in many rural areas of the county, but it is unsuited to densely populated urban areas like Stevenage.

“Why do HCC not allow local county councillors the flexibility to decide whether or not they want the lights left on all night operation in their own divisions – charging the energy costs to the local members’ highways budgets?”