MONMOUTHSHIRE council’s street light turn off could lead to deaths when drivers are forced to drive in darkness, according to an opponent of the move.
The manager of Bulwark-based M & R Taxis, Chris Whittaker, said turning off lights in residential areas across the county from 12am until 5am is “incomprehensible”.
He said: “Someone is going to get killed. You drive through Bulwark and we are out until 3am, 4am on a Saturday night. If revellers are crossing that road you can’t see them. It’s absolutely ludicrous.
“The biggest problem is when people are out drinking, they’re crossing the road and you can’t see them until the last minute. It’s incomprehensible.”
He said he has considered filming what the streets are like on his iPad to highlight just how difficult driving on the roads is without the street lights illuminating them.
Lights in Chepstow are due to turn off from August 18 as Monmouthshire council tries to save up to £180,000, but Mr Whittaker said he had noticed they had been turned off in the early hours of August 2.
And Jay Adams, who runs Jay’s Taxis in Chepstow, said he shared Mr Whittaker’s concerns.
He said: “It is more a case that it makes people harder to see and if you can’t see them you can’t see what they are up to. It is more trouble in the long run.”
Chepstow councillor Peter Farley, who sits on its town council and Monmouthshire council, said he was hoping there will be alterations to the plans in the future but that meetings with council officers and councillors are yet to take place.
He said: “My concern is that that there will be some streets that maybe still need to have lights on for various reasons. I am hoping there will be further developments. I think there will be a local need. Over time it may be possible to work out some specific arrangements for specific roads.”
Last week, Monmouthshire council’s cabinet member responsible for street lighting, Cllr Bryan Jones, said he understood people’s concerns, that cuts would be minimised if possible but that the scale of cuts made the savings inevitable.