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Kent County Council has launched a public consultation on plans to switch-off lights during the early morning as part of a drive to deliver better value for money for council taxpayers.
Some 70,000 of its 120,000 street lights would be converted to 'part-night' lighting as part of the proposals, and would turn off between midnight and 5:30a.m.
Street lights in town centres, areas with CCTV, antisocial behaviour areas, at busy road junctions, roundabouts or sites with road safety issues would not be changed or affected.
Residents, businesses, motorists and other groups are being asked for their views on the hours of proposed part-night lighting, and the criteria for selecting lights to be part of this programme. This approach will help the council meet the challenge of rising energy costs, carbon emissions and light pollution.
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, David Brazier, said: "We are taking a safe and sensible approach to rationalising our street lights. We want to ensure we make the best use of Kent tax payers' money.
"We propose switching off lights when they don’t need to be lit. This is the most effective way of saving energy, very much like a householder turning off lights at night when going to bed.
“Rising electricity costs are a reality and will continue to go up year on year. Next year we face a bill of £6.4million for illuminating street lights and the associated carbon tax. A considerable amount is spent on lighting streets in the early hours and we believe we can save around 20% – that’s more than £1million – by turning lights off when they don’t need to be lit. These proposals would save 5,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.
To take part in the consultation or find out more information, please visit: www.kent.gov.uk/streetlights
The county council has already discussed its proposals with Kent Police; the Kent Association of Local Councils; and all 12 Joint Transportation Boards, where local councillors discuss transport issues.
Meanwhile, later this summer, Kent County Council will turn off around 3,000 surplus lights on a trial basis.
These are lights that are no-longer necessary and would not have been installed under current regulations. If safety or crime levels are adversely affected during the one-year trial, the lights in question will be switched back on.
The consultation will run until Friday 23 August. People can also submit their views by post at: Safe and Sensible Street Lighting, Kent County Council, Invicta House, County Hall, Maidstone ME14 1XX.