A further bid by Liberal Democrat councillors for street lights in Hertfordshire to stay on until 2am has been rejected by the county council.

Party councillors say they have found a way to keep the LED street lights on for an extra hour at night without any extra cost - and at a full council meeting on Tuesday they urged councillors to back them.

But council members stuck with the initial plan – already agreed by cabinet in October – that night-time street lighting hours should be extended only until 1am.

Following the meeting Lib Dem Cllr Steve Jarvis, who proposed the motion, suggested the motivation in voting down the proposal was political.

“The council has rejected a plan that would keep the lights on later where people want that to happen, leave them unchanged where they don’t, reduce the carbon impact and save the council money,” said Cllr Jarvis.

“The Conservatives clearly prefer wasting public money and providing a worse service to agreeing to a suggestion from the Liberal Democrats.”

Currently all street lights on residential roads, which are covered by the county council’s part night lighting scheme, are switched off at midnight.

Under the new plan – agreed by the council’s cabinet in October – the street lights will dim progressively between 9pm and 1am, when they will be switched off.

They will go back on at 5am – one hour earlier than now – and remain on until dawn.

The Lib Dems say dimming the lights between 5am and 6am could save an additional £30,000.

Those savings, they say, would more than meet the additional £19,000 needed to keep the lights on between 1am and 2am.

They first put the idea forward to the October meeting of the cabinet and pitched it again on Tuesday.

At the meeting of full council, Cllr Jarvis said while there were areas that would prefer darkness, the option of extending lighting to 2am would be welcome in those parts of the county where significant numbers of people were still around at that time.

He said: “So, if we can do better than 1am at no cost to the council, why would we not do that?”

Executive member for highways Cllr Phil Bibby said the LED system – which offers more control and flexibility – would be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

However, he said that the 1am option was the one the majority of residents had asked for.

He added it would take some time to collect and consider residents’ feedback following the agreed changes.

During the debate Labour group leader Cllr Sharon Taylor said there were areas where people did not want extended street lighting – but that there were areas where they do.

She pointed to people who worked late at night and felt unsafe going home, people walking their dogs and the elderly, who may not go out but who felt safer if their streets were lit.

She said the council should be able to decide with people where the lights should stay on or not.