All-night light­ing re­turns af­ter KCC’s £40m street­light U-turn

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Three-year Conversion To Led Bulbs - By Paul Fran­cis

Kent County Coun­cil (KCC) has con­firmed there will now be all­night light­ing across the county fol­low­ing a de­ci­sion to switch to new en­ergy-ef­fi­cient LED lights.

Coun­cil­lors have backed the U- turn, which fol­lows the an­nounce­ment KCC is to spend £40 mil­lion con­vert­ing 118,000 street­lights to pro­vide the op­tion of all-night light­ing.

Work is ex­pected to be com­pleted within three years and will even­tu­ally save Kent tax­pay­ers up to £5.2m a year.

How­ever, KCC says it will lis­ten to calls for light­ing to be dimmed or switched off where district coun­cils and par­sih coun­cils ask for it; where th­ese re­quests are made, KCC will have the fi­nal say.

The draft pro­gramme for the res­i­den­tial ar­eas and ap­prox­i­mate time­line is:

Phase 1: Ash­ford, Shep­way and Dover – March to July 2016;

Phase 2: Sevenoaks, Dart­ford and Grave­sham – July to Septem­ber 2016;

Phase 3: Tun­bridge Wells, Ton­bridge & Malling and Maid­stone – Septem­ber to Novem­ber 2016;

Phase 4: Swale, Can­ter­bury and Thanet –Novem­ber 16 to May 2017.

In a con­sul­ta­tion car­ried out last year, there were more than 3,700 re­sponses.

Of th­ese, 63% said they pre­ferred all-night light­ing, while 37% said they pre­ferred part­night light­ing at the cur­rent level.

At the mo­ment, the bill for the county’s street­lights and lit signs is nearly £9.5 a year in main­te­nance, elec­tric­ity costs and car­bon tax.

Cllr Matthew Bal­four, Kent County Coun­cil cab­i­net mem­ber for the en­vi­ron­ment, said: “By em­brac­ing LED light­ing in one of the largest projects of its kind in the United King­dom, we can make sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings to our elec­tric­ity bill and cut our car­bon foot­print.”

The de­ci­sion ends a pe­riod of con­tro­versy the coun­cil faced when there was wide­spread op­po­si­tion to pro­pos­als for street­lights to be switched off and dimmed.

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

Tax­pay­ers will save £5.2m a year af­ter the work is com­pleted

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