John Whitehouse

County Councillor for Kenilworth Abbey Division Learn more

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Street lighting switch off – two weeks to go!

by Warwickshire Liberal Democrats on November 18, 2012

From 1st December onwards, the vast majority of street lights in Kenilworth will be switched off between midnight and 5.30 am.

I’ve given strong support at the County Council to the new part night lighting policy. It will save a lot of money (£500,000 a year) and a lot of energy, helping to reduce our carbon footprint. The plan was to start the new arrangements from 1st April next year, but in fact across Warwick District all the equipment is in place to implement early and make additional savings. A good idea, yes?

WELL, UP TO A POINT!

I don’t think it makes any sense to implement this new policy just a few weeks before the Christmas/New Year period, the busiest time of the year for people being out late at night, and possibly a little the worse for wear! I tried to get the Conservative Cabinet Member  to delay, even by a few weeks, but he wouldn’t listen.

I hope sincerely that no serious problems or accidents happen over the Christmas/New Year period which could be attributable to this early switch off decision. If they’d stuck to the original timetable, we’d all have had plenty of time to get used to the new arrangements before the next Christmas/New Year period. As it is, we’ll just have to cross our fingers and hope for the best!

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4 Responses

  1. Josie Lawrance says:

    This came as a total surprise to me in the middle of last night 1 Dec – I was totally unnerved to awake to total darkness at 2 a.m. my husband and I were totally unaware this was happening and totally unprepared. It has always been a comfort to me to see the lights outside the house, giving a sense of security. My husband and I are often out beyond midnight, walking home from friends. Fortunately this was not the case last night. We will have to buy suitable torches. I will also never dare to walk out alone again. In addition we will now be leaving one or two lights on in our home all night long – costing us more of course. I do understand the need to save money but how much has the special equipment cost?

    • I’m afraid that the advance publicity for the switch-off was inadequate, and quite a lot of people were therefore unaware it was going to happen. When the council decided to bring forward the date to 1st December, against the clear advice of myself and colleagues, they needed to put a major effort into telling residents about it! Sadly they failed to do so.

      The saving of £500,000 a year will be achieved as a result of capital expenditure of £1.64 million. This gives a payback of just over three years. No other method of cutting the energy bill for street lighting, e.g. dimming or LED lights, would have achieved anything like this payback.

  2. Jayne Johnson says:

    I went to meet my 16 year old daughter from a local address on the night of 1st December where she was babysitting. It is a short 5 minute walk from Sunningdale Avenue where I live. All of the street lights were already switched off at 23.45. Although I understand the need to save money and switching off street lights overnight may seem to be a good idea, I really believe that prior to 01.00 is too early. I found it quite frightening walking the streets with no street lighting. In this case, I think that the timings should be re-considered. 23.45 is too early. This is not an unreasonable for people to be walking home from an evening out.
    Regards
    Jayne Johnson
    19 Sunningdale Avenue

    • I appreciate your concerns about the timings of the switch-off. The stated switch-of time is midnight, so I am intrigued that they were off at least 15 mins earlier than this. I am pressing for the earliest possible review of the scheme early in the New Year, and the question of the midnight curfew is one of the key ones to be addressed.

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