Keeping street lights on later while still saving money should be a no brainer, says an opposition councillor.

But Liberal Democrats at Hertfordshire County Council have blamed party politics after their suggestion to use dimmed lighting to keep lamps burning later was not taken up.

After the council’s highways and environment panel voted in September for all street lights to be turned off at 1am, the Liberal Democrats offered proposals to keep the lights on until 2am.

They said that by dimming new LED lights from 5am until 6am at the same light level as between 9pm and 11pm at night they could save enough money to keep every street light on till 2am, if their local county councillor requested it.

But the Conservative-run council stood by its decision at a cabinet meeting on October 22 and voted down the proposals.

Lib Dem opposition leader Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst claims in an open letter to people in the county that the idea was only rejected because it was his party’s idea.

Cllr Giles Medhurst wrote: “We are supporting the principle of localism, which the Conservatives said they agreed with.”

“As it’s a Lib Dem idea for making our streets safer with lighting on until later, plus saving the council money - they are being too dogmatic and can’t support it.

“So when the Conservatives come calling for your vote, and you wanted that side street lit late at night so you could walk home safely just remind yourself why the lights are off.”

Cllr Phil Bibby, who is responsible for highways, defended his party’s position, saying that they cannot rush through any proposed plans.

He said: “We are not playing politics with this.

“Our position is that we are making some substantial changes to lighting throughout the county.

“What we want to do is to have a review of lighting while responding to feedback and we don’t think it’s right to go any further until we know what is working and what isn’t working.

“It’s not a case of party politics or cost, we want to help people in the county.

“We have a few people who need to be up at that time but we also have to take into account the majority of people who don’t and many people don’t want the lights on that late.”