Milton Keynes Council reviews streetlight switch-off decision

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A decision to switch off streetlights in Milton Keynes could be reversed following a 30% rise in accidents and two deaths in unlit areas.

Nearly 2,600 lamps could now be relit if a proposal is accepted by the council's cabinet.

Council leader Andrew Geary said it was "absolutely right" to review the decision to turn off 2,700 of the 7,100 grid road lights in the town.

The decision was taken in September last year as part of budget cuts.

Energy savings would be achieved on a further 3,300 lights through "dimming and trimming".

Lights were kept on by roundabouts, junctions and bus stops.

Accidents increased

However, during two recent inquests, the problem of drivers' vision being impaired by the rapid alternation of lit and unlit sections was highlighted.

Police accident data also indicated a 30% increase in night time accidents on those sections of road not fully lit.

The switch-on will cost £97,000 in the current financial year and £85,000 in subsequent years.

Council leader Andrew Geary said: "[The previous administration] were placed in a position where budget cuts and savings had to be found and we were advised that this would be a reasonable thing to do.

"We have evidence now from road safety campaigners and from the coroner's office that [recommends] we ought to rethink and that's exactly what we are doing.

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said they were "assured by professional council staff" that the proposal to turn off some of the street lights was "perfectly safe".

The proposal will go before the cabinet on 25 July.

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