Bid to switch street lights off to save cash

First published in News

STREET lights in residential areas across Monmouthshire are to be switched off as part of council cost saving measures, with some town and community councillors voicing concern about the plans.

As part of their budget Monmouthshire council agreed to shut off a portion of street lights on residential estates after midnight.

The council is asking town councils across the county which lights to turn off between midnight and 5am.

The authority is not looking to switch off any street lights on main roads or where traffic calming measures are in place, it has said.

Cllr Tony Watkins, of Usk town council told the Argus: "Usk is a town which has a population of relatively elderly people for the lights to be turned off would be a considerable danger to them.

"My real concern is how much the council are going to say this will save them - nine sodium light bulbs are less than 1kw of electricity. How much is this really going to save?

"There are simpler ways to save money without the ramifications of this," he said. "We (the town council) are not at all happy with this.

"If it was a substantial amount of money I think people would be more understanding."

Monmouthshire council needs to slash its street lighting costs by £180,000 and have dimmed around half of their street lights by 50 per cent from 8pm to 6am.

The authority has told Chepstow town council that street lights at St Kingsmark Avenue, Bridge Street, High Street, Bulwark Road, Mathern Road and Thornwell Road will not be affected by the plans.

Cllr Peter Farley, member for St Mary's, said: "In principle I think we should be very careful about turning off street lighting in the town centre."

Roger Hoggins, head of operations at Monmouthshire council, said in a statement given to the Argus: "Public consultation highlighted that in many areas it was considered a sensible approach to turn off street lights between midnight and 5am. Cabinet approved this proposal last February.

"Areas that are considered high risk, such as pedestrian crossings, traffic calming areas and junctions, will not be affected and will remain lit. We have contacted our town and community councils so they can inform us of areas that they consider should remain in lighting. Safety is a priority and we will be flexible in our approach.”

Chepstow town council will meet tonight (Wednesday) to discuss the proposals.

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