I am writing in response to Stephen Giles-Medhurst’s letter in your November 9 edition, in an attempt to give readers the county council’s full position on this subject. Unfortunately, the letter in question was so full of political rhetoric and economic with the truth, that the Conservative policy has been misrepresented, and it is necessary for me to intervene.

Part night lighting was introduced to provide energy savings and reduce our carbon footprint. It is clear that this policy was not popular amongst many so, one of the reasons we embarked on the conversion to LED lighting, was that it gave us much more control and flexibility in how we operate street lights – in our 2017 manifesto, we committed to reviewing our lighting strategy.

By dimming lights from 9pm to 11pm by 50 per cent, and by a further 30 per cent until 1am, we have established a cost neutral way of reducing the unlit period from the present midnight to 6am, to 1am to 5am, and this was what most of the residents who fed back requested.

The idea to keep lights on until 2am in urban areas was considered and, yes, this could be funded by further dimming, but the reason why we decided not to take this route is as follows. We are making substantial changes, to include the dimming, and the full roll out will not be until March 2020 across the county, so we will not be able to assess the overall effect and resident feedback for some time. It is appreciated that some residents have to catch late trains home, for example, and may appreciate the extra hour, but there are many who would prefer the lights switched off. In summary, we feel that a further reduction in the part night lighting would be going too far, at the present time, but we will continually review our policy.

A further improvement was seen from trials, that the 50 per cent dimming helped alleviate the ‘black spots’ that have been reported, in view of the more even spread of light. A further enhancement is that, through your local county councillor, you can request shields to be removed, and the angle of tilt altered, to improve lighting.

So, this is not politics, as some would have you believe, but is our commitment to running the county in a professional and sustainable manner, for the overall benefit of residents.

Phil Bibby

Executive Member for Hertfordshire Highways and Environment