TWO emergency services workers have made a plea for Buckinghamshire County Council to rethink its plan of turning off streetlights across the county.

Samantha Purvis, 36, is a paramedic, and her husband Neal, 57, is a crew manager at Bucks Fire and Rescue's Chesham station. They live in Frances Street, Chesham, where their work takes them around the county, often through the night. They are extremely worried about a scheme that is being tested across the county to replace streetlights with ecologically friendly alternatives such as intelligent' road studs, more visible traffic signs and improved road markings.

Mrs Purvis said: "I am a great believer in trying to reduce pollution and cut costs by reducing the amount of electricity that is used on a day-to-day basis. But my concern is that switching these off makes our job harder.

"SatNav helps us to get to pretty much the right place, but we still need to check the number on the door. It's really hard to see down some streets where there aren't lights and it doesn't make things any easier for us."

The stretch of the A413 Aylesbury Road around the Mobwell junction in Great Missenden will be piloting the scheme in the Chiltern area.

Mr Purvis said: "It's not very helpful for us from an emergency service point of view. They say it will be monitored for three years. "What can you say? As an emergency service worker it is worrying. And seeing as there have been so many road accidents along the A413 it will be interesting to see what happens there."

Phil Stonehewer, group manager for Strategic Maintenance and Road Casualty Reduction for Buckinghamshire County Council said: "All the areas where this is being done have been assessed for their suitability. We're certainly not interested in making things less safe. And we're not just switching lights off; we've improved safety measures in these areas and we've done safety audits.

"This has not been done on a whim. We will be monitoring these sites from day one."