A CONTROVERSIAL scheme that plunged Essex plunged into darkness in an effort to save cash will take more than five years to claw back any savings, it has been revealed.

Residents in Tendring were furious after Essex County Council switched off street lights between midnight and 5am.

It was introduced to save money and cut carbon emissions.

But a Freedom of Information request has revealed the cost to the taxpayer of financing the scheme will now rise from £6.5million to £8.1million and that there be no savings until 2020/21.

A county council spokesman said: “The savings Essex County Council expects to make for residents from its investment in a wireless street light control system depend onmany factors, such as changing energy prices."