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Cash-strapped council discuss switching off street lights at certain times to save money

02 Dec 2023 3 minute read
Evening Training by JonJamesPhotography81 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Lewis Smith, local democracy reporter

A council in Wales has discussed turning off or dimming a number of its street lights in the coming months, in order to save money on increasing energy bills.

Council bosses in Neath Port Talbot met to discuss how they could potentially save up to £285,000 each year by dimming a number of street lights in the borough, as well as turning some off completely during the early hours of the morning.

Members at November’s environment, regeneration and streetscene services meeting decided to approve a consultation process with members of the public, to discuss turning off and dimming lights for certain areas in order to tackle energy costs which they say have “increased significantly.”

Budget gap

The report read: “The cost of energy to the council has increased significantly and, despite an above inflationary increase in the funding allocation this year, the current street lighting energy budget of £1.4m is predicted to out-turn £295,000 over budget.

“In addition to this, there is a significant budget gap predicted in the council’s budget next year, which would make any ongoing deficit very difficult to sustain. As such there is a need to consider potential savings strategies to reduce lighting energy costs if required.”

The move could see as many as 10,600 LED lanterns that are installed within the county borough dimmed by up to 25% either all evening or within the small hours, if given approval by the council in the coming months.

Other options could also see some lights turned off altogether in the small hours, or in some areas a combination of both dimming lights and switching them off could be implemented.

Costs within the report indicated that with “part night lighting” being implemented between 1am and 5am it could save the council up to £218,0010 each year, while a combination of part lighting and dimming could save them as much as £285,000 per year.

Responsibility

However, during the scrutiny meeting where the proposals were first discussed, Cllr Robert Wood of Sandfields West said the local authority should do everything it could to keep the lights on instead of turning them off.

He said: “I do not need a consultation to tell me that by switching the lights off or dimming the lights you are not going to increase the residents’ chances of being robbed, raped or run over. This is a case of saving money but costing lives. The council must strive at all costs in its responsibility to keep the lights on and I would urge the cabinet to look at this very carefully.”

Other members also asked that more information be given on which areas could see their lights go off, with officers saying they would include extensive lists of potentially affected streets within the consultation documents.


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Frank
Frank
2 months ago

Street lights used to be switched off at midnight years ago. No big problem as far as I remember. Makes sense really. Apart from certain professions there is no reason to be out at that time.

Malcolm Jones
Malcolm Jones
2 months ago

Come too Merthyr Tydfil the street lights are so bad you are walking in the darkness every where. So they could just switch them off anyway 😕

Frank
Frank
2 months ago

Street lights used to be switched off at midnight many years ago. Nightclubs, pubs, restaurants etc. closed at 11.45pm. It was no big deal. Apart from certain people who work shifts there is no reason to be out and about at that time. Saving council taxpayers money makes complete sense.

David
David
2 months ago

With councils approving planning permission for solar fams and turbines. Why don’t they insist that the said energy is allocated free for street lighting for the council.

Leonard Easter
Leonard Easter
2 months ago

Bad management should be sacked and get someone in who can do the job

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
2 months ago

There are a good number of places in the uk where street lighting has been turned off overnight, some have done so for over a decade. There are, also, vast areas that have never had any kind of lighting.

It is a very sensible decision of Neath Port Talbot council in order to save money.

Brian
Brian
2 months ago

Labour run councils implementing their Tory masters’ spending cuts. Get up off your knees and do something about it FFS.

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