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Cabinet member apologises for wrongly assuring residents: “Going forward” all-night lighting will return.

July 24, 2015 11:16 PM

shepway north (Brian Clark)During the full county council meeting in March, in which a question was posed on part-night street lighting and a 10,000+ signature "Right to Light" petition was debated, the new cabinet member for Environment and Transport, echoed his predecessor in assuring residents, "Going forward we have said that all-night lighting will return as part of the proposal to convert the County Council's entire stock of streetlights to LED".

However, in a review of KCC's lighting policy for the energy saving LED lamp roll out during this week's Environment and Transport Committee, the cabinet member declared "If I ever said 'going forward' I apologise". This removes an assurance on all night lighting which county members have, in good faith, been publicising to residents across the county.

From the paper, KCC now plans to take three options for future streetlighting policy to public consultation, from which the option chosen will be a one size fits all for the whole of Kent. The options are: the continuation of part night lighting (where lights are turned off from midnight to 5.30am), restoration of all night lighting dimmed by 50%, or the return to all night lighting .

Committee member Brian Clark commented, "By asking the public to choose one of three options, there is an assumption that one size fits all. The demographics of Kent are much more complicated - what works in a scenic rural location is unlikely to work in a dense urban setting. We are paying for a complex LED central control system with every light in Kent separately adjustable, then we plan to make them all have the same setting!" he continued, "This paper, makes no mention of the criteria for how this decision is to be made and will do little to overcome public concern"

Cllr Clark also raised the current part-night lighting policy's lack of required equalities impact assessment (EqIA), and as such asked that lights be turned back on until the new policy is decided. The cabinet member did not accept this recommendation stating "the past is gone".

Afterwards Cllr Clark concluded, "The reality is that the administration has wasted a fortune rushing in part-night lighting on obsolete streetlamps (wiping out any savings on energy). Beyond this, processes have been set up without any flexibility to reflect the diverse needs of Kent's population, and we still see a refusal to face up to how bad this policy has been for residents, whether they wish to have all night lighting or not".