Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 18:24 UK

Street lamp switch-off continues

Street light (library picture)
More than 9,000 lights will be switched off

A move to stop street lights being switched off throughout a county has been thrown out by councillors.

The controversial scheme in Powys started in September and will see more than half of the local authority's stock of lamps blacked-out.

Motions by Powys council's Lib Dem and Conservative groups called for the return of lights in some areas.

Meanwhile, councillors have voted to increase their annual allowance by 2.45%, which will cost 25,000.

The council spends just over 1m on allowances each year. Every councillor will be eligible to receive 11,749, but those who chair committees will get more.

The authority's chair Viola Evans was the only councillor to refuse the increase at a meeting of the full council in Llandrindod Wells.

We want the council to stop the scheme and turn lights back on in areas we deem sensitive
Councillor Leslie Davies

Councillor Gary Price urged colleagues to freeze their allowances and use the money saved to keep some street lamps on, but no-one seconded his motion.

The meeting's main talking point was street lights, and following lengthy discussions councillors amended the motions, which would have halted the switch-off and seen some lights turned back on.

Instead, they agreed to carry on with the project and start a review as soon as possible.

Powys council hopes to save 225,000 by doing this.

The scheme has been criticised by communities throughout the county, but officials say rocketing energy prices and a budget shortfall have left them with no choice.

The meeting heard from councillors who said some constituents had been injured as a direct result of street lights being switched off.

But the councillor responsible for finance, Gwilym Fychan, urged members to support the scheme.

'Sensitive'

He said: "There are very difficult times ahead.

"Next year the budget will be the most difficult we have ever seen."

Speaking before the meeting, leader of the Lib Dem group and deputy chair of the council's ruling board, Leslie Davies, said: "We feel there wasn't enough consultation with communities before the lights were switched off.

"We are not opposed to turning lights off, but we want the council to stop the scheme and turn lights back on in areas we deem sensitive, and then go back and start consulting with communities again."

An amendment to the motions, which supported the switch-off scheme, was backed by 38 votes to 25.

On Monday, Llanfair Caereinion town council, near Welshpool, voted to pay Powys council 56 to turn each of its blacked-out lamps back on.


SEE ALSO
Town pays to turn lights back on
21 Oct 08 |  Mid Wales
Lamp switch-off risks 'blackout'
19 Sep 08 |  Mid Wales
County considers lights turn-off
12 Sep 08 |  South West Wales
Big street lamp switch-off starts
10 Sep 08 |  Mid Wales
Street lamps to be switched off
16 Jul 08 |  Mid Wales

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