Councillors have listened to residents and unanimously agreed to keep streetlights on longer than originally proposed while meeting tough savings targets.

Members of Highways and Community Infrastructure made the on Tuesday, to extend lights staying on until 2am instead of the planned midnight switch-off after hearing the results and proposals of a public survey.

The Council had planned to make £41 million in savings but recent Government announcements means this now could be as much as £52 million.

The Council is looking to follow the lead of more than 60 councils across the country, which have already turned off or dimmed street lights, which would have saved around £260,000 from an annual cost of over £1.4m a year.

Members debated an amendment to keep lights on but this was defeated before they voted unanimously to extend the time the lights are kept on.

Councillors also heard around nine councils, including Cambridge City Council, have come forward to offer to fund the lights staying on after the proposed switch off time.

This means the committee are recommending to Full Council:

To increase the current period of streetlight dimming (8pm or 10pm until 6am) to all times and
turning off lighting not on main traffic routes between 2am and 6am where it is controlled by the Council's Central Management System;

The Council is not proposing to turn off lighting on main traffic routes, where CCTV cameras are present, where there are any statutory requirements or where they support the night time economy.

The Committee heard that the changed time means the Council would have to find an extra £98,000 from efficiencies.

A recent report shows that where this approach of dimming or turning off streetlights has been taken elsewhere, there is no evidence to suggest a link with increases in crime or detrimental impact on safety.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Roger Hickford, Chairman of Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee, said: "We have listened to people concerns and alternative proposals put forward during the public consultation. In an ideal world we would not want to turn off street lights. However, with the recent announcement by Government we now have to find an extra £11 million on top of the £41 million we have already had to save for 2015/16. After listening to what people have said about street lighting, we proposed and unanimously agreed to extend the period that street lights stay on to 2am. Not only do we hope this helps reduce some of these concerns but also aids other councils coming forward to find local funding solutions for their areas as others have done. We have been working closely with authorities across Cambridgeshire to find local solutions and welcome the offers we have had."

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