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Essex Should Follow Kent On Street Lights

Monday, April 28, 2014

GMB Call On Essex To Follow Kent To Review Street Light Switch-Off In Areas Where There Are Valid Concerns About Increased Crime And Safety

In 2011-12 research shows that 324 more people were killed or seriously injured in crashes at night in the UK where street lights were switched off than the previous year says GMB.

GMB commented further on the campaign to persuade Essex County Council to reverse their decision to turn off street lighting in residential areas from 12am to 5am to save money. See notes to editors for copy of GMB press release of 4th April.

Michelle Bacon, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB is pleased that so far we received an overwhelming response to the campaign. 

We accept that some villages do not want street lighting during the hours of darkness. However, in larger towns this is of extreme concern. 

There is a duty of care under the Crime and Disorder Act for local Councils to address such activity in conjunction with partners it is not the sole responsibility of the Police.  We are not convinced that switching off the lights tackles the fear of crime which councils are obliged to do. It allows opportunists to prey on our elderly and most vulnerable. 

Basildon, Rochford and Chelmsford councils are committed to deal with Crime and Anti- Social behaviour. Each part of the policy aims to reduce the number of victims of crime and the fear of crime. One has to ask how can this be achieved if areas are plummeted into darkness.

In Kent there is a recent report that thieves got away from the police in an incident in Ashford because officers could not find the suspects in the dark.

Kent County Council has now promised to review the street light switch-off and to take a second look at areas where there are valid concerns about increased crime and safety. Essex should do the same.

Recent research has found that in 2011-12, 324 more people were killed or seriously injured in crashes at night in the UK where street lights were switched off than the previous year.”

End

Contact: Michelle Bacon 07961 709680 Michael Guyll GMB taxi drivers representative at Billericay station 07565 456776 or GMB press office 07921 289880

Notes to editors

GMB press release Wednesday 2nd April 2014

GMB Back Campaign To Get Essex County Council To Reverse Decision To Turn Street Lights Off In Residential Areas At Night To Save Money

For more than a hundred years we have taken street lighting for granted and there are concerns that Essex County Council has got the balance wrong and has put residents in unnecessary danger says GMB

GMB is backing a campaign to persuade Essex County Council to reverse their decision to turn off street lighting in residential areas from 12am to 5am to save money. The County Council want to save £14m over 3 years.

Areas such as town centres, key road junctions and places where lights have been installed for safety reasons are exempt from the switch-off. GMB want the exemption to apply to all residential areas in the county.

GMB want the switch off to be an issue in the local elections next month. This should highlight how dangerous the switch off is for drivers and pedestrians and of the risks of increasing crime and the dangers this poses for the most vulnerable in society.

Michelle Bacon, GMB Regional Officer, said “Essex County Council has got the balance wrong between saving money and public safety.

For more than a hundred years we have taken street lighting for granted. GMB has serious concerns that Essex County Council by switching off the lights to save money has put residents in unnecessary danger. 

How do people know if they are getting into a licensed taxi or cab if they cannot identify the details because there is lack of street lighting.

How will the council respond to increase in crime or will they simply blame the already over stretched police service. Lighting at night is also a critical element to CCTV operations to deter and enable action to be taken against criminals.

Essex County Council has risked turning residential areas line Basildon into paradise for criminals and has left the most vulnerable in society scared witless.

GMB is backing this campaign for minimum standards for street lights during hours of darkness in built up areas. GMB will be contacting councillors and those standing for election across Essex for their support.”

End

 

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