People could pay to reverse Lincolnshire's controversial street light switch off

Communities which had their street lights controversially switched off by Lincolnshire County Council will be able to turn them back on, but will have to pay for it.

Under the plans, town councils will have to upgrade their current lights to LEDs in order to turn them on again.

It means that local people will have the chance to reverse the change.

A draft protocol for how towns and parishes can request to turn their lights back on is to be written up by the county councillor in charge of highways.

It will include which criteria needs to be met to revert back to full night operation.

It comes as the county council switched off more than half of the region’s 68,000 street lights in an effort to save money.

The system means that they are turned off between midnight (and as early as 10pm in some areas) until dawn.

The controversial policy saved the council £1.7 million, but was criticised by local residents.

Now, under recommendations previously outlined by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board at the council, communities will have the chance to turn them back on - but only if the street can afford the bill.

John Monk, the county council’s group manager for design services, said: “Now that both Highways Scrutiny and the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board have approved this recommendation, the next step will be developing a draft protocol for enabling local communities to self-fund the upgrade of street lights to LED and have them reinstated to full night operation.

“When written, this protocol will outline the specific criteria communities will need to meet to be eligible for this, along with the cost and maintenance details.

“Once this proposal has been prepared and approved, we will share it publically and promote it across the county.”

The measure was supported by the council’s executive back in June.

The move is also backed by the senior councillor for community safety, Coun Barry Young, who said he “enthusiastically” supported the plan.

Chairman of the scrutiny management board, Coun Rob Parker, said that the plan provides an “opportunity” for local people.

“It means that if the local demand is there for street lighting that will mean that, if they can afford it, they can provide the service,” he said.

“It is fair to say that it has been a controversial policy and not every political party agrees with it.

“But the point is that now that we have a street lighting policy, democratically agreed, it should be extended to parishes who want it but the council is not willing to pay for it.”