Shine a light on dark grid roads

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THE STREET lighting policy which has seen many grid roads plunged into darkness could be reversed.

Under the former Lib Dem administration at Milton Keynes Council, plans were approved to turn off 6,000 street lights across Milton Keynes’ grid road system.

However, Councillor Norman Miles raised his concerns in Tuesday night’s council meeting, highlighting the dangers of approaching roundabouts in the dark, and questioning whether the scheme was designed to save the environment, as claimed by the Lib Dems, or whether it was to save money.

He said: “If this was about the environment, why didn’t we do this years ago? This is about safety and we cannot afford to have a tragedy because of it.”

Councillor John Bint, cabinet member for transport and highways, is concerned and has ordered officers to look into safer alternatives.

He said: “The officers have concerns about the scheme, and these concerns can be seen in emails written in late 2010 during the period when the scheme was being developed.

“The officers have no concerns about turning off some of the 2,700 grid road lights, and these light have now mostly been turned off.

“But they have concerns about the remainder, approximately 3,300, because these also serve junctions, bus-stops or adjacent redways without seperate lights.

“As a result of this information, I have asked officers urgently to put forward an alternative scheme for reducing total expenditure on public lights.

“Early work suggests a wattage reduction in the lighting columns, combined with a further reduction using ‘time switch/dimmers’ may well be able to achieve the target level of saving.”