On or off? Have your say on fu­ture of street­lights

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Night Lights - By Paul Fran­cis

Kent’s street­lights could still be switched off or dimmed at night un­der plans by the county coun­cil to re­place bulbs with LED tech­nol­ogy.

Kent County Coun­cil has be­gun a con­sul­ta­tion over a scheme in­volv­ing in­stalling LED in ev­ery street­light, say­ing it will in the long term save money for the tax­payer.

If im­ple­mented from next year, the three-year pro­gramme will be­gin re­plac­ing tra­di­tional bulbs on street­lights in residential ar­eas first, fol­lowed by main roads and fi­nally town cen­tres.

As part of the public con­sul­ta­tion, the coun­cil says it also wants to hear views on whether there should be part-night time light­ing – as it does now – or all­night light­ing.

KCC came un­der fire over the in­tro­duc­tion of its orig­i­nal street­light switch-off trial and there was con­tro­versy over how it was be­ing im­ple­mented.

How­ever, be­tween De­cem­ber 2013 and au­tumn 2014, KCC con­verted half its street lights to part-night op­er­a­tion, sav­ing about £1mil­lion each year.

There were claims the switchoff had in­creased crime in some residential ar­eas and left peo­ple vul­ner­a­ble.

Un­der the new 10-week con­sul­ta­tion, launched this week, KCC said the ini­tial in­vest­ment, said to be some £40m, would be out­weighed by the £5.2m yearly sav- ings from re­duced car­bon emis­sions.

Cllr Matthew Bal­four (Con), Kent County Coun­cil cab­i­net mem­ber for en­vi­ron­ment and trans­port, ac­knowl­edged there were con­cerns among res­i­dents.

“We are aware some peo­ple have con­cerns about part-night light­ing, in par­tic­u­lar, it may lead to an in­crease in crime or the fear of crime.

“We have been work­ing very closely with Kent Po­lice, who have an­a­lysed their records and stated they have found no cor­re­la­tion be­tween crime rates and changes to street light­ing.”

He added LED tech­nol­ogy was more flex­i­ble.

“We want to un­der­stand how res­i­dents would pre­fer their street lights to op­er­ate.

“I would, there­fore, urge peo­ple to take part in the con­sul­ta­tion.”

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.co.uk

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.