£40m street­lights switch will cut KCC elec­tric bills

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Helping Others - By Paul Fran­cis

A £40m scheme to con­vert all of the county’s street­lights with more ef­fi­cient bulbs will get un­der way in March but the re­place­ment pro­gramme will take more than three years to com­plete.

Kent County Coun­cil has signed a con­tract with en­gi­neer­ing com­pany Bouygues En­er­gies and Ser­vices to carry out the work and has bor­rowed £22m to fund it.

KCC says it will save £5.2m a year once all the lights are fit­ted with LED bulbs and it will have the flex­i­bil­ity to adapt light­ing lev­els across all the county.

That could mean lights be­ing dimmed or be­ing switched off al­to­gether.

At the mo­ment, it costs KCC nearly £9.5 mil­lion a year in main­te­nance, elec­tric­ity costs and the as­so­ci­ated car­bon tax to run street­lights and lit signs.

Cllr Matthew Bal­four (Con), Kent County Coun­cil cab­i­net mem­ber for trans­port, said: “By em­brac­ing LED light­ing in one of the largest projects of its kind in the United King­dom, we can Cllr Matthew Bal­four: ‘LED light­ing will make sav­ings and cut our car­bon foot­print’ make sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings to our elec­tric­ity bill and cut our car­bon foot­print. We will pri­ori­tise res­i­den­tial ar­eas be­fore tack­ling town cen­tres and the main roads.”

The county coun­cil last year aban­doned its orig­i­nal street­light switch-off trial af­ter a lon­grun­ning con­tro­versy over how it was be­ing im­ple­mented and wide­spread op­po­si­tion.

There were claims the switchoff had led to an in­crease in crime in some res­i­den­tial ar­eas and left peo­ple vul­ner­a­ble.

KCC then con­sulted on its new plans invit­ing views on all-night light­ing, part-night light­ing and dim­ming lights be­tween mid­night and 5.30am.

The re­sults of this con­sul­ta­tion are ex­pected to be dis­cussed in Fe­bru­ary.

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

The £40m scheme to re­place the county’s street lamps with LEDs will take more than three years to com­plete

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