Victory in sight over street light switch-off hours (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Claim Epping Forest will be treated as a 'special case'
Victory could be in sight for campaigners after it emerged that the councillor in charge of the overnight street light switch-off is on the verge of changing the hours.
People in Epping Forest have been calling for the lights to be switched off at 1am rather than midnight to enable Tube travellers to get home before being plunged into darkness.
During a Conservative Party Strategy meeting this morning councillors were told the district will be treated as a ‘special case’ and street lighting extended by an hour.
The initiative introduced in January is being rolled out across Essex in a bid to save £1.5million a year and help protect the environment.
But there has been opposition in Epping Forest as people use Tube stations serving central London until well after the midnight switch-off time, raising concerns over safety.
Chigwell councillor John Knapman said the cabinet member in charge of the switch-off, Cllr Rodney Bass, has finally agreed to the lights being left on until 1am.
He said: “We have managed to secure an agreement from Councillor Bass that the lights in Epping Forest will be left on for an extra hour.
“Myself, Councillor Metcalfe and Councillor Gadsby have been pressing him on the matter.
“Instead of it being 12am until 5am it will be 1am until 6am.
“[When challenged in the meeting] Rodney Bass thought about it and said yes - that the district could be treated as a special case.
“We feel like this is really good news. People in the district have been getting off of the Tube and walking home in the pitch black after they finish work in the city.”
Mr Bass refused to comment on the matter when asked by The Guardian, insisting he “does not speak about what goes on in private meetings”.
Buckhurst Hill commuer Alison Wagstaffe began a petition to keep the lights on until 1am in January.
It has not been announced when the times will change, but an announcement is expected soon.