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Mixed views in Diss over lights switch-off

PUBLISHED: 09:54 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:25 12 July 2010

Civic leaders in Diss have given a mixed response to a scheme that will see hundreds of street lights being turned off at night.

Plans to switch off 27,000 lights across the county, including more than 350 in the market town, between midnight and 5am were approved by county councillors on Monday.

Civic leaders in Diss have given a mixed response to a scheme that will see hundreds of street lights being turned off at night.

Plans to switch off 27,000 lights across the county, including more than 350 in the market town, between midnight and 5am were approved by county councillors on Monday.

But Diss Town Council last week asked the local authority for more detailed information about its proposals, which could be introduced as soon as next year.

Safety concerns, fears about increased crime levels and the loss of feeding habitats for local bat populations were raised by town councillors at a meeting on Wednesday night .

Concerns were also aired that rail passengers returning on the last train from London will be left in the dark when they get into Diss at 1.45am.

The Norfolk County Council plans would save the local authority £167,000 a year and help reduce carbon emissions.

But town councillor Mike Bardwell said he wanted to see all the lights in Diss town centre working before officials at County Hall decided to turn them off.

“Norfolk County Council has embarked on an expensive scheme to replace huge amounts of street lights in the county to make them more efficient and have less light pollution. If they are going to spend all that money why are they going to turn them off?”

“We should recognise the environment and save carbon pollution, but I think in the interests of providing a service, I do not think it is going to make much of a difference and the town centre and estates should be kept on,” he said.

Trevor Wenman said he was in support of the principle.

“The idea is to improve the environment by saving electricity, reducing light pollution, and making some areas a more pleasant place to live. Where there is a road safety issue or crime issue, they [the county council] will not do it and there are probably not many places in Diss where this might happen,” he said.

The scheme will affect 764 lights in Wymondham, 226 in Attleborough, and 47 in Harleston.

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