A change to the streetlight switch off hours has been described as "a total disaster".

Street lights across Epping Forest are now switched off between 1am and 6am rather than Midnight and 5am.

Late-night commuters will now have a better chance of arriving home before being plunged into darkness however those up before six o’clock will have no street lighting.

Alison Wagstaffe from Russel Road, Buckhurst Hill is campaigning to see the lights remain on after the last tube terminates in the district and before the first train leaves or to abolish the scheme altogether.

The west end wardrobe assistant, who has attracted 947 names to an online petition about the lights, said: “It’s a total disaster. I think it’s made things worse if anything.

“There are now two sets of disgruntled commuters rather than one.

“It’s definitely not a victory. I think councillors campaigning have failed.”

Teresa Cairns from Upshirebury Green set up the facebook group Light Our Streets Waltham Abbey which has 1,600 members.

She said: “I do not see the change in time as a victory, more a moving of the goal posts .

“I have grave concerns regarding the winter months with no lights until six o'clock.

“Victory I feel will only be there when our street lights are returned throughout the hours of darkness.”

County councillor for Chigwell Village, John Knapman said: “It’s a victory for Eppping Forest as a short-term remedy.

“At the moment it’s a short-term attempt to save money and not the right way of doing things.

“Using LED lights would be one option which would save energy and would start saving money after the initial expenditure.”

Rodney Bass, county council cabinet member for highways said: "I have had no complaints since we changed the time a week ago.

"If people haven't noticed the change then I suggest it hasn't affected them, like the majority of people in Epping Forest."

The streetlight switch off initiative introduced in January by Essex County Council is being rolled out across Essex in a bid to save £1.5million a year and reduce energy consumption.

You can view Miss Wagstaffe’s online petition here.