BUCKINGHAMSHIRE County Council has insisted that residents' views will determine whether street lights are turned off across the county.

Kevin Allen (pictured), street lighting manager at Transport for Buckinghamshire, which is part of Bucks County Council ( BCC ), has urged people to get in touch with their views if they want their voices to be heard.

He said: "We need people to express their views as quickly as possible, because we want to know what people think so that we can move forwards.

"Not everyone we have heard from is against the plans. In fact, before we announced them, our records show that 61 per cent of people are in support of partial light switch-off in their area, but we need people to respond directly to the consultation, so that we get even more of an idea."

He added that BCC is also strongly considering the option of turning off one street light in three or four, a suggestion which many of our readers have made.

Mr Allen said: "That is certainly an option we will be considering. No decision has yet been made on what to do on the street lighting issue, so this is certainly something we will look into.

"We are looking at other counties where they have done this, such as Oxfordshire, to see if it is something that we can implement here."

Readers have also expressed their concerns that the planned switch-off will lead to roads becoming less safe for drivers, and also for children at school leaving time.

Mr Allen said: "We are not aware of any areas where they have switched off lights where the rates of accidents have risen, but we are looking into this as part of the consultation process, and we are talking to district councils, parish councils and the police about it.

"As for the school issue, children will not be affected because we are talking about a light switch-off which starts at midnight and goes through until around 5am, so that will not be an issue."

And Mr Allen also said he was confident that the plans would not lead to an increase in crime in residential areas.

He said: "This is a big concern for people and seems to be one of the things which immediately seems to spring to mind when we talk about switching off lights.

"Again, we will look into it, but in areas where this has already been done, such as Oxfordshire and Essex, there has been a decrease in crime since the lights were turned off.

"It is something that we are aware of, and we are looking at to see what effect switching off lights could have."

* What do you think? Email bucks news@trinitysouth.co.uk.