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20 May 2011, 13:17
More than a thousand people have joined a Facebook group against the switch off of half a county's street lights, to save money.
Northamptonshire County Council have started switching off half of their 66,000 street lights, to save two million pounds a year, as well as cut carbon emissions. It follows similar moves in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.
Northamptonshire's switch-off has started in Corby, but other areas of the county will follow shortly.
Sonia Matheson, who lives in Corby, has been telling Heart she thinks switching street lights off will make things less safe for walkers. "I would not feel comfortable walking round Corby from my house to my sister's house, which is literally a five minute walk, without the street lights," she said. "The street lights do give a sense of security."
A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: "A programme to reduce the cost of street lighting energy by 50 per cent as part of reducing Northamptonshire County Council’s overall streetlighting budget by £2 million started on Monday, May 9.
"The initiative which will see about one in two of county council owned lights switched off is being carried out as the authority aims to make £73 million in-year savings.
"As well as making cash savings the initiative will also help the county council reduce light pollution, energy consumption and its carbon footprint.
"Although the switch-off started in Corby, lights across the whole county are being turned off with the programme taking place throughout May and June.
"Switching off about half of the 66,000 street lights owned by the county council does not mean that we will be just switching off every other light.
"A priority list has been developed in conjunction with the police and road safety officers that will enable the council to identify where it is most appropriate for most lights to be maintained, and where they can be switched off."
Two protest marches against the switching off of street lights in Northamptonshire were due to be held in Corby on the evening of Friday 20 May 2011.