Labour’s sole city councillor Alan Baldock has called on the Tory-controlled authority to come clean over whether it supports the turning off of street lights at night. Last year Kent County Council announced it would begin a programme of turning off half its streetlights between midnight and 5.30am as part of a money-saving drive. However, Cllr Baldock, who represents the Northgate ward in Canterbury, says there is growing disquiet in the district over the switch-off. He challenged the council over the issue during a meeting at the Guildhali last Thursday. Cllr Baldock asked:
“Is the city council’s ruling Tory party supportive of their KCC colleagues’ policy of part night lighting? It is a policy which is plunging residential streets across our district into darkness during the early hours and is being imDlemented without robust risk assessment focusing on the effect on residents’ lives.”
Cllr Peter Vickery-Jones says he understands why KCC is turn ing lights off, saying it would save £1 million a year and reduce carbon emissions by 5,000 tonnes a year. The Conservative said:
“There are many locations that this part-night lighting policy would not be appropriate and KCC has issued a list of places where street lights will not be turned off. They include town and city centres, main pedestrian routes and sites where there are road safety concerns. The cost savings and environmental benefits are supported by the city council. However, if residents in some areas feel their roads should also be excluded from the scheme, we will raise these concerns directly with KCC.”
Cllr Vickery-Jones added that no decision has been made on the street lights that Canterbury City Council operates. Under its programme of work, KOC is switching off 2,500 surplus street lights on a trial basis for a year. It is also converting 70,000 street lights to part-night operation. Earlier this year, KCC’s lead on the issue and transport supremo David Brazier promised a review of the scheme. Kent Police has said it does not support the switch-off because of its fears over crime and safety. Should the lights be switched back on? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Gazette House, Estuary View Business Park, Whitstable, CT5 3SE.
Herne Bay Gazette, December 4th 2014