The street light switch-off began in Epping Forest at midnight

Residents' anger just hours after light switch off

Residents' anger just hours after light switch off

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter, covering Walthamstow, Leyton and Leytonstone. Call me on 07768 507 739

A controversial scheme to switch off street lights in residential areas to save money was implemented for the first time last night.

And residents took to social media to criticise the move in Epping Forest, which is aimed at saving £1.5million a year across Essex.

Lisa Perschky, from Waltham Abbey, took to twitter to call the policy a “joke” and claim criminals will “take advantage”.

Allison Hudson, also from the town, branded the move “disgusting”, adding she now fears for the safety of her daughters travelling home at night.

Charlotte Harman, 20, from Loughton, said she and her friend nearly had an accident as they drove home.

She said: “We, two young girls, were driving home from our friends when we realised the lights were off.

“A little further down the road in Loughton Way I had to scream at my driver to stop. As per usual in Loughton, there was junk in the road but she had just mistaken this for a light piece of rubbish, no it was a concrete bollard.

"We were debating the best action to take as we know it’s not safe to get out your car in the middle of the night in low lit areas.”

Miss Harman said her friend later witnessed a taxi driver hit the bollard.

“If professional drivers are being disadvantaged by the council's idiotic move to remove all lights, what about the rest of us?” She added.

Alison Wagstaffe, of Buckhurst Hill recently began a petition calling for lights to be kept on until after the last tube and train services.
 

To view it, click here.

 

Comments (18)

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10:17am Mon 13 Jan 14

xxkarliexx says...

all of limes farm lighting was turned off last night so we were all in the dark,its a disgrace especially on an estate where there was a stabbing a few weeks ago,the council take take take and we never see any improvements roads are atrocious,burglarys are up i do not know where any of my council tax goes as i have never seen anything being done footpaths are a mess they wanted to cut back on transport for school children so what is the job of essex county council,i have been without communial lighting outside my property for over a year constantly ringing the council to get it resolved only for them to switch them on and they then go out the next day the council have told me there is a problem with my lighting but there is no set date for the repair to be carried out so now the street lights are off we are in total darkness why do we pay taxes and service charges when we dont get anything for our money i feel we should boycot the council and stop paying our taxes as we are only paying for there expences they have no thought for the residents who pay there wages they get 11% payrises and we get 1% all of us working class people are all being run by the goverment we are not our own person anymore about time we all stood up and told them we cant be treated like this anymore its a disgrace
all of limes farm lighting was turned off last night so we were all in the dark,its a disgrace especially on an estate where there was a stabbing a few weeks ago,the council take take take and we never see any improvements roads are atrocious,burglarys are up i do not know where any of my council tax goes as i have never seen anything being done footpaths are a mess they wanted to cut back on transport for school children so what is the job of essex county council,i have been without communial lighting outside my property for over a year constantly ringing the council to get it resolved only for them to switch them on and they then go out the next day the council have told me there is a problem with my lighting but there is no set date for the repair to be carried out so now the street lights are off we are in total darkness why do we pay taxes and service charges when we dont get anything for our money i feel we should boycot the council and stop paying our taxes as we are only paying for there expences they have no thought for the residents who pay there wages they get 11% payrises and we get 1% all of us working class people are all being run by the goverment we are not our own person anymore about time we all stood up and told them we cant be treated like this anymore its a disgrace xxkarliexx
  • Score: -1

10:33am Mon 13 Jan 14

Cubana says...

And about time too. There is NO evidence that turning off street lights causes more crime or more accidents. See here:
http://www.britastro
.org/dark-skies/crim
e.htm
In fact last night there was brilliant lighting from the MOON. People who are out at this time should take a torch or if they are driving should not drive so fast that they cannot stop within the distance they can see by their headlights.
And about time too. There is NO evidence that turning off street lights causes more crime or more accidents. See here: http://www.britastro .org/dark-skies/crim e.htm In fact last night there was brilliant lighting from the MOON. People who are out at this time should take a torch or if they are driving should not drive so fast that they cannot stop within the distance they can see by their headlights. Cubana
  • Score: 1

10:44am Mon 13 Jan 14

Simon Weekes-Hughes says...

I didn’t realise that the switch off was happening last night. I found myself on a bus in Loughton just before midnight – and then boom – all the lights go off! Even the ones on bus routes!

If the bus didn’t have an audio message telling you what stop you’re at, I would’ve missed my stop. Once off the bus I couldn’t see a thing, including the pavement. With no cars using the road to help light my way, I had to go very slowing using the light from my smartphone. It was more luck than judgement that I didn’t hurt myself – I really can’t see how the council have been allowed to switch off nearly all our street lights. They were built for a reason!
I didn’t realise that the switch off was happening last night. I found myself on a bus in Loughton just before midnight – and then boom – all the lights go off! Even the ones on bus routes! If the bus didn’t have an audio message telling you what stop you’re at, I would’ve missed my stop. Once off the bus I couldn’t see a thing, including the pavement. With no cars using the road to help light my way, I had to go very slowing using the light from my smartphone. It was more luck than judgement that I didn’t hurt myself – I really can’t see how the council have been allowed to switch off nearly all our street lights. They were built for a reason! Simon Weekes-Hughes
  • Score: 10

12:24pm Mon 13 Jan 14

jackblack007 says...

Cubana wrote:
And about time too. There is NO evidence that turning off street lights causes more crime or more accidents. See here:
http://www.britastro

.org/dark-skies/crim

e.htm
In fact last night there was brilliant lighting from the MOON. People who are out at this time should take a torch or if they are driving should not drive so fast that they cannot stop within the distance they can see by their headlights.
looks like there is a village nearby missing its idiot..........
[quote][p][bold]Cubana[/bold] wrote: And about time too. There is NO evidence that turning off street lights causes more crime or more accidents. See here: http://www.britastro .org/dark-skies/crim e.htm In fact last night there was brilliant lighting from the MOON. People who are out at this time should take a torch or if they are driving should not drive so fast that they cannot stop within the distance they can see by their headlights.[/p][/quote]looks like there is a village nearby missing its idiot.......... jackblack007
  • Score: -2

1:35pm Mon 13 Jan 14

fjl says...

Have the drivers mentioned in the article not got headlights on their cars? Sound like they where just not paying attention to me, especially as the passenger was able to spot the hazard in the road. Country lanes and a lot of motorways do not have lights but drivers manage to drive along them at night without problems.
Personally I think the switch off is a good idea. There was an area they tested this on last year and crime levels actually went down so I would not be concerned about that aspect.
Have the drivers mentioned in the article not got headlights on their cars? Sound like they where just not paying attention to me, especially as the passenger was able to spot the hazard in the road. Country lanes and a lot of motorways do not have lights but drivers manage to drive along them at night without problems. Personally I think the switch off is a good idea. There was an area they tested this on last year and crime levels actually went down so I would not be concerned about that aspect. fjl
  • Score: 4

5:42pm Mon 13 Jan 14

villager1 says...

Anyone who thinks the switch off is a good idea is : 1.. male; 2 has no life 3. has no consideration for others especially women and people working at night. This is a ridiculous idea - now the market traders in Epping are saying they cannot set up in the dark; What idiot at Essex CC thought this one through? Everyone should contact their local councillor and ask them how they voted on this and then let them know how you will vote at the next lection unless they reverse this stupid medieval policy.
Anyone who thinks the switch off is a good idea is : 1.. male; 2 has no life 3. has no consideration for others especially women and people working at night. This is a ridiculous idea - now the market traders in Epping are saying they cannot set up in the dark; What idiot at Essex CC thought this one through? Everyone should contact their local councillor and ask them how they voted on this and then let them know how you will vote at the next lection unless they reverse this stupid medieval policy. villager1
  • Score: 11

7:16pm Mon 13 Jan 14

BelieveBJ says...

villager1 wrote:
Anyone who thinks the switch off is a good idea is : 1.. male; 2 has no life 3. has no consideration for others especially women and people working at night. This is a ridiculous idea - now the market traders in Epping are saying they cannot set up in the dark; What idiot at Essex CC thought this one through? Everyone should contact their local councillor and ask them how they voted on this and then let them know how you will vote at the next lection unless they reverse this stupid medieval policy.
Could not agree more.....
They say they will save 1.5 million a year....
What was the amount to fit a sensor on EVERY street lamp last year???
What will the bill be....for all the claims of people tripping over broken paving in the dark.....driving in potholes in the dark.....etc etc....
How many crimes have to occur, before they get their brains into gear! And decide to CONSULT the people who chose to live in this district with street lamps! and not live out in the sticks!!
I spoke to a man fitting the sensors on the lamps....he said it was HUGELY expensive, and POINTLESS!
[quote][p][bold]villager1[/bold] wrote: Anyone who thinks the switch off is a good idea is : 1.. male; 2 has no life 3. has no consideration for others especially women and people working at night. This is a ridiculous idea - now the market traders in Epping are saying they cannot set up in the dark; What idiot at Essex CC thought this one through? Everyone should contact their local councillor and ask them how they voted on this and then let them know how you will vote at the next lection unless they reverse this stupid medieval policy.[/p][/quote]Could not agree more..... They say they will save 1.5 million a year.... What was the amount to fit a sensor on EVERY street lamp last year??? What will the bill be....for all the claims of people tripping over broken paving in the dark.....driving in potholes in the dark.....etc etc.... How many crimes have to occur, before they get their brains into gear! And decide to CONSULT the people who chose to live in this district with street lamps! and not live out in the sticks!! I spoke to a man fitting the sensors on the lamps....he said it was HUGELY expensive, and POINTLESS! BelieveBJ
  • Score: 3

7:20pm Mon 13 Jan 14

It's good to talk says...

Think the name of the councillor responsible is Rodney Bass. Remember this when voting. (Please correct me if wrong).
Think the name of the councillor responsible is Rodney Bass. Remember this when voting. (Please correct me if wrong). It's good to talk
  • Score: 1

8:11pm Mon 13 Jan 14

ceejay73 says...

I don't understand the Epping Traders story - the consultation document stored here: http://www.essexhigh
ways.org/Transport-a
nd-Roads/Roads-and-P
avements/Street-ligh
ting/Partnight-light
ing/Epping-Forest.as
px shows the whole of the high street in Epping, including the market area, with all night lighting.

Or is the paper saying that the consultation plan hasn't been implemented?

It does seem wrong that areas of the district bounding Greater London are affected the same as elsewhere - you land up with an arbitrary line in the middle of a built up area, one side of which is plunged into darkness at midnight.
I don't understand the Epping Traders story - the consultation document stored here: http://www.essexhigh ways.org/Transport-a nd-Roads/Roads-and-P avements/Street-ligh ting/Partnight-light ing/Epping-Forest.as px shows the whole of the high street in Epping, including the market area, with all night lighting. Or is the paper saying that the consultation plan hasn't been implemented? It does seem wrong that areas of the district bounding Greater London are affected the same as elsewhere - you land up with an arbitrary line in the middle of a built up area, one side of which is plunged into darkness at midnight. ceejay73
  • Score: 7

8:31pm Mon 13 Jan 14

ceejay73 says...

People choose to live along the Central Line so that they can work and socialise in London which, perhaps more than the rest of Essex, means that they are not home and tucked up in bed by midnight as these Essex CC councillors seem to believe,

People here have a real need for street lighting to ensure they get home safely late at night, and that means a good 20 minutes or so after the last train arrives. That means at least 1.30am in Epping.

Maybe we should hold a referendum to leave Essex and join Greater London so we are represented by people who actually understand how we live & work here?
People choose to live along the Central Line so that they can work and socialise in London which, perhaps more than the rest of Essex, means that they are not home and tucked up in bed by midnight as these Essex CC councillors seem to believe, People here have a real need for street lighting to ensure they get home safely late at night, and that means a good 20 minutes or so after the last train arrives. That means at least 1.30am in Epping. Maybe we should hold a referendum to leave Essex and join Greater London so we are represented by people who actually understand how we live & work here? ceejay73
  • Score: 2

10:41pm Mon 13 Jan 14

SNGreen says...

It's good to talk wrote:
Think the name of the councillor responsible is Rodney Bass. Remember this when voting. (Please correct me if wrong).
We can't vote against Rodney Bass, as surpise, surpise he is not an Epping Forest Councillor but we can vote against his party which as Conservative.

There are three issues relevent here:
1) Lack of Consulatation: I know of no person who received a leaflet about this. They did put it online but did make much of an effort to promote it.

2) People need to feel safe when coming home from work or out in the late night from the last trains and buses etc. Also main roads need the lights on as they will be most used.

3) As for crime. Burglars need and like light. why? because they can have anonimity. THey can travel undetected as just another perosn. However turn the lights out and they need torches and they stick out a mile. In Malden when the lights went out crime shot down and when, after a campaign to get them turned back on, they actually were put back on crime shot up again.

So we need the lights on for people to feel safe travelling on our often perilous pavements (which are in a shocking state) and just generally. However crime may well follow Malden. It will be interesting to ask the Police what happens in Epping Forest
[quote][p][bold]It's good to talk[/bold] wrote: Think the name of the councillor responsible is Rodney Bass. Remember this when voting. (Please correct me if wrong).[/p][/quote]We can't vote against Rodney Bass, as surpise, surpise he is not an Epping Forest Councillor but we can vote against his party which as Conservative. There are three issues relevent here: 1) Lack of Consulatation: I know of no person who received a leaflet about this. They did put it online but did make much of an effort to promote it. 2) People need to feel safe when coming home from work or out in the late night from the last trains and buses etc. Also main roads need the lights on as they will be most used. 3) As for crime. Burglars need and like light. why? because they can have anonimity. THey can travel undetected as just another perosn. However turn the lights out and they need torches and they stick out a mile. In Malden when the lights went out crime shot down and when, after a campaign to get them turned back on, they actually were put back on crime shot up again. So we need the lights on for people to feel safe travelling on our often perilous pavements (which are in a shocking state) and just generally. However crime may well follow Malden. It will be interesting to ask the Police what happens in Epping Forest SNGreen
  • Score: 9

3:49pm Tue 14 Jan 14

escapefrome17 says...

Finally!!!!!........
...can't wait for it to be more widespread. Did the predicted darkness armageddon happen with Epping descending into anarchy at the hands of gangs of marauding footpads? No?

Grow up people, it gets dark at night and it's better for all of us, particularly those of us lumbered with streetlights outside our houses. If you're scared of the dark then move to Finsbury park or Seven Sisters or somewnere the lights will be staying on all night, I'm sure you'll feel LOTS safer there!
Finally!!!!!........ ...can't wait for it to be more widespread. Did the predicted darkness armageddon happen with Epping descending into anarchy at the hands of gangs of marauding footpads? No? Grow up people, it gets dark at night and it's better for all of us, particularly those of us lumbered with streetlights outside our houses. If you're scared of the dark then move to Finsbury park or Seven Sisters or somewnere the lights will be staying on all night, I'm sure you'll feel LOTS safer there! escapefrome17
  • Score: -3

6:29pm Tue 14 Jan 14

It's good to talk says...

Over the last couple of years The Council has put in 3 extra lamposts, 2 bend signs, hazard white lines, a painted hatched area, illuminated bend signs at a junction in North WEALD, very close to the stream that runs parallel with the High Road. There have been 3 fatalities and over 13 accidents in this area. These improvements to the lighting have worked very well and there have been no accidents since implemented.

Yes, you have guessed, the lights have been turned off without any consultation to the residents who have suffered over the years. We were led to believe that certain areas where improvements were carried out were exempt but this has not been the case.
Over the last couple of years The Council has put in 3 extra lamposts, 2 bend signs, hazard white lines, a painted hatched area, illuminated bend signs at a junction in North WEALD, very close to the stream that runs parallel with the High Road. There have been 3 fatalities and over 13 accidents in this area. These improvements to the lighting have worked very well and there have been no accidents since implemented. Yes, you have guessed, the lights have been turned off without any consultation to the residents who have suffered over the years. We were led to believe that certain areas where improvements were carried out were exempt but this has not been the case. It's good to talk
  • Score: 6

8:42pm Tue 14 Jan 14

E17 is finished says...

Lights MAKE people feel safer, not just provide a source of light. We constantly complain that people don't walk or run and yet the council turn the lights off. So safety clearly isn't important to them. I suggest you have some rights under EU law which says that the authority has to provide a safe environment. Might be worth looking into this, though obviously you'll need to do this during day light hours.
Lights MAKE people feel safer, not just provide a source of light. We constantly complain that people don't walk or run and yet the council turn the lights off. So safety clearly isn't important to them. I suggest you have some rights under EU law which says that the authority has to provide a safe environment. Might be worth looking into this, though obviously you'll need to do this during day light hours. E17 is finished
  • Score: 4

6:29pm Wed 15 Jan 14

stickmanny says...

The EU is about to grant companies the right to sue governments that don't let them bid for public services. I don't hold out much hope there.

Meanwhile the Coalition response to bankers gambling away all our money is to approve more fat bonuses. Make no mistake: this is why your council cannot afford to keep the lights on.
The EU is about to grant companies the right to sue governments that don't let them bid for public services. I don't hold out much hope there. Meanwhile the Coalition response to bankers gambling away all our money is to approve more fat bonuses. Make no mistake: this is why your council cannot afford to keep the lights on. stickmanny
  • Score: -1

7:34pm Wed 15 Jan 14

ig9blog says...

The hysteria and hyperbole over the part-night lighting is utterly ludicrous and frankly astonishing. 'I nearly bumped into someone', 'A car nearly hit something and the world is about to end'.

As others have pointed out, there's no street lighting on many motorways or in rural areas and people have coped with that for decades. Cars have headlights, people have eyes and criminals can and do work under any lighting conditions. There are also still lights on main routes and near stations. Anarchy and chaos hasn't descended on Essex in the last few days. Get a grip.
The hysteria and hyperbole over the part-night lighting is utterly ludicrous and frankly astonishing. 'I nearly bumped into someone', 'A car nearly hit something and the world is about to end'. As others have pointed out, there's no street lighting on many motorways or in rural areas and people have coped with that for decades. Cars have headlights, people have eyes and criminals can and do work under any lighting conditions. There are also still lights on main routes and near stations. Anarchy and chaos hasn't descended on Essex in the last few days. Get a grip. ig9blog
  • Score: 1

8:16pm Wed 15 Jan 14

escapefrome17 says...

I think the people who are panicing about crime should realise that burglar bill with his mask and stripey jumper and swagbag does not visit at night, he doesn't exist at all.... in reality he's a drug addlled hoodie who plays xbox all night, sleeps all morning, and then visits during the afternoon when law abiding folks are out at work.

Rapists? Very rarely lurking in the dark shadows on the off-chance of a victim appearing- these cases are so rare they tend to appear on crimewatch....most rapists are known to their victims, as are most murderers- these are mainly domestic tragedies, played out behind closed doors, not dependant on wether there's a streetlight on or not.

I for one welcome dark nights returning, like when I grew up in the seventies and the lights went out after the pubs kicked out.
I think the people who are panicing about crime should realise that burglar bill with his mask and stripey jumper and swagbag does not visit at night, he doesn't exist at all.... in reality he's a drug addlled hoodie who plays xbox all night, sleeps all morning, and then visits during the afternoon when law abiding folks are out at work. Rapists? Very rarely lurking in the dark shadows on the off-chance of a victim appearing- these cases are so rare they tend to appear on crimewatch....most rapists are known to their victims, as are most murderers- these are mainly domestic tragedies, played out behind closed doors, not dependant on wether there's a streetlight on or not. I for one welcome dark nights returning, like when I grew up in the seventies and the lights went out after the pubs kicked out. escapefrome17
  • Score: 1

6:23pm Sun 19 Jan 14

Kestral1410 says...

http://www.change.or
g/en-GB/petitions/es
sex-county-council-e
pping-forest-distric
t-council-essex-high
ways-abolish-the-pro
posed-part-night-lig
hting-scheme-from-2n
d-jan-2014-in-epping
-forest
http://www.change.or g/en-GB/petitions/es sex-county-council-e pping-forest-distric t-council-essex-high ways-abolish-the-pro posed-part-night-lig hting-scheme-from-2n d-jan-2014-in-epping -forest Kestral1410
  • Score: -1

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