Plans to make further reductions in street-lighting in Penarth and throughout the Vale of Glamorgan are to be discussed by the Vale Council’s ruling ‘cabinet’ on Monday .
Council officers are to present the ‘cabinet’ with four different “options” for making yet further economies in street lighting
Currently the Vale Council has a total of 15,902 street lights – of which 5,113 are economical LED (light emitting diode) lights and the rest mostly the orange sodium kind.
In October 2014 the Vale Council decided to cut costs by retaining its LED lights and switching off 70% of the remaining lights at 24:00 (midnight) each night – a process it calls “part-nighting”. This was supposed to save £371,862.71 a year in electricity costs – but was going to cost £350,385 to implement – and was to pay for itself in 0.9 years.
In the event however specially set-up “Part-Night Lighting Board” found that only 65% (7,400 street-lights) could actually be switched to “part-night” operation.
COMPLAINTS : The Vale Council’s dimming and switch-off decisions have provoked scores of complaints from the public. Up to this month a total of 225 people have complained to the council about the street lights being doused – and about what a council report describes as “overly dark areas in residential streets“.
Despite this however, the Vale Council is now trying to slash yet more street-lighting costs and is considering new options for further reductions which involve “dimming” the newer LED lights – which many people claim are already pretty dim anyway.
All new and existing LED lamps can apparently be programmed to dim at certain times of the evening / morning and to a range of power levels.
Officers are now recommending the council should implement a new “preferred option” which is summarised as “Dim existing LED lights at midnight and invest £1,200,000 in 2016/17 and £100,000 in 2017/18 and 2018/19 in LED residential street lighting – which are also to be dimmed at midnight.”
The payback period for this is estimated at 7.54 years and the council says it would provide “considerable savings whilst also allowing for consistent and appropriate lighting levels to be achieved throughout the Vale.”
The council – wary of public reaction – says “Complaints are likely to be less than all other options as there will be no unlit areas.It should not be forgotten that currently almost 50% of the Council’s total street lighting stock is turned off at midnight.”
A council report says that “In any event complaints of poor lighting will be much easier to deal with, as increasing the lighting output from any column would be a simple matter of reprogramming the LED controls ”