The timing of the controversial switching off of street lights in Epping Forest is to be changed over concerns for the safety of Tube users.

County Hall officials have today confirmed that lights will be left on for an extra hour until 1am - and remain off for five hours - in the parts of Epping Forest which lie within the M25 and to the west of the M11.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “The change will be made in areas served by the London Underground system, and respects the special position of the Epping Forest District in relation to London.”

The Guardian reported last week that the change was announced by Cllr Rodney Bass, the driving force behind the scheme, during a Conservative Party strategy meeting.

Teresa Cairns, has campaigned against the switch off and welcomed the change.

She said: “That's great move in the right direction regarding the lights. I now have in hand over 2000 signatures on paper and almost 300 online.”

The switch off is being rolled out across Essex in a bid to save £1.5m each year.