Beds, Herts & Bucks

Milton Keynes Council to turn streetlights back on

Streetlights on grid roads in Milton Keynes will be switched back on by the winter, the council has decided.

Milton Keynes Council reversed its September 2011 decision to switch them off following a 30% rise in accidents and two deaths in unlit areas.

Nearly 2,600 lamps will be relit and £865,000 will be spent on dimmers that will be fitted over the next few years.

Council leader Andrew Geary said it was "absolutely right" to review a policy decision.

The streetlights were turned off as part of budget cuts, but the problem of drivers' vision being impaired by the rapid alternation of lit and unlit sections was highlighted during two recent inquests.

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

'Lower wattage'

Mr Geary said: "Those of us who use the roads at night know that when going from light to dark it takes your sight a while to adjust.

"What the council has said is that in those stretches where there isn't long enough for your sight to adjust safely, we have got to turn these lights back on."

In the short term, the lights will be switched on and over the next couple of years a dimmer system will be put in when columns are replaced.

"Eventually you will drive around Milton Keynes where everything is lit but at a lower wattage, which will assist our carbon footprint and aid road safety," Mr Geary said.

He added that if the decision was not "called-in" to be reviewed, the programme to turn the lights back on would begin "in a couple of weeks".

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