As Mike Fiske said in a CEN letter on 23-Jan,
P.C. Vic Smith, who writes a safe-driving column for CEN, pointed out the dangers (7-Feb-1996): "...lives will be put at risk." "Fatal and injury accidents cost the county £150M in 1994."
County Councillor Dave Kelleway,
Labour transport spokesman, was quoted
as saying there was no evidence turning off lights led to more accidents or crime.
Some parish councils protested by refusing to cooperate with the County Council in planning the switch-off (CEN 21-Feb-1996). They would have done better to explain why each light is needed. Also, as the Opinion column said, "we do not want to hear tales of officials overruling local objections. They will not have to live in the dark."
Some details (based on John Reynolds' CEN letter of 15-Feb-1996):
As of 7-Mar-1996 (CEN, quoting LibDem County Councillor Geoffery Heathcock), the County Council started reviewing the decision, due to public pressure. The savings would still have to be made, all the more because of the recently-announced £1.9M loss by the County Council transport department's labour force, Cambridgeshire Construction, just before it was privatised. Strangely close to the supposed £1.8M savings requirement which started all this...
The Transport Services Committee agreed to consult local councils, offering them the chance to pay for their lights to stay on.
Cambridge City Council Transport subcommittee decided to pay £27,500 to the
County Council to keep all the City lights on - Coun. Heathcock claiming it
as a LibDem victory (CEN 22-Mar).
It's hardly surprising he opposed the switch-off - he was also
chairman of the Cambridge City Police Consultation Group at the time
and was aware of the crime-reduction effect of lighting.
The City asked the County to contribute £4,000, representing the savings to
the County of not going through the exercise of switching lights off
In early July the County Council received an unexpected £400,000 from the
Government, to be spent on roads, and decided to scrap the switch-off,
for this year at least.
The City Council will be able to use the £30,000 it earmarked for schemes
such as improving street lighting.