URGENT calls have been made for County Hall to turn the streetlights back on to keep football fans safe during the World Cup.

The Labour party has asked highways boss Rodney Bass to think of the revellers who will have to walk home in the pitch black after spilling out of the pubs.

Some matches, including England’s first game against Italy on Saturday, do not start until 11pm – meaning they will end in the early hours of the morning.

Essex County Council began switching streetlights off from midnight until 5am in a bid to save cash earlier this year.

The opposition party emailed Mr Bass asking if he had thought about reversing the blackout during the World Cup, only to be told: “Yes, we have considered it, but do not see the need to implement it at this stage.”

Keith Bobbin, Labour’s county councillor for Pitsea, said: “There are going to be a lot of people walking home in the dark because the matches are on so late, and we need to do what we can to make it safe for them.

“It’s pitch black without the lights on and it’s not fair. I’m concerned about our residents.

“The Tories just don’t seem to think it’s important.”

Jamie Huntman, Ukip party leader and county councillor for Thundersley, believes County Hall should switch the streetlights on during the World Cup as an act of goodwill.

He added: “This is not to do with supporting Labour, but we believe the streetlights should remain on.

“People are bound to go to the pub and enjoy a drink or two while they’re watching the football, so why shouldn’t we turn the lights on to make sure they can get home safe?

“If not, theywill probably end up tripping over and suing Essex County Council, which will cost more in the long run! Let’s do our bit to support the World Cup and shine the lights down on our streets.”

The Labour party is now planning to put forward a motion at Essex County Council asking for the Tory administration to make a permanent U-turn.