On or off? Have your say on future of streetlights
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.”
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