Warwick district’s street lights will go out earlier as council brings the clock forward
PLANS to plunge the streets of Warwickshire into darkness at night have been approved by county councillors - and the first lights to go out will be in Leamington, Warwick, Kenilworth and surrounding villages.
The Conservative-led county council’s cabinet yesterday (Thursday) approved a scheme that will see, from December 1, 80 per cent of Warwickshire’s street lights switch to ‘part-night lighting’, where they will be turned off between midnight and 5.30am each night. The plan will be rolled out across the county, beginning with Warwick district in just over a month’s time.
The move, officials argue, will save the council £500,000 a year and reduce its carbon footprint significantly. The council currently spends £2.2 million on electricity charges per year.
But members of the council’s committee delegated to scrutinising community issues say the timing is “very bad”.
Chairman of this committee, Cllr John Whitehouse (Lib Dem, Kenilworth Abbey), said he, along with fellow Liberal Democrat councillors Sarah Boad (Leamington North) and David Johnston (Wellesbourne), put a case forward for delaying the programme until the first week of January.
He said: “The timing of the switch-off is really bad and could set the whole scheme back.
“We argued strongly for a delay, but they weren’t having any of it and they decided to plough ahead. It was thought that, having spent all the money on the equipment already, it would be a waste to not use it.
“They seemed to ignore the fact that there could be adverse publicity surrounding this. Why do it during the Christmas and new year period - the one time you can guarantee that there will be people out on the streets at night.”
Cllr Whitehouse is also concerned about the fact that the council’s ‘public engagement’ sessions, which took place around the county during the summer months, did not reach enough people, with only 310 responses having been submitted to the council.
He said: “For such a low number of people to have responded out of the whole of Warwickshire does suggest a very low level of public engagement, which is a concern.
“It’s got to mean that despite the publicity there has been about the issue, there remains an awful lot of people who are going to be surprised.
“I am not underestimating the task that’s going to have to be done with getting the message across to the public that this is happening and the reasons why it is happening.”
Streets that will not be affected by the switch-off include at areas where they are potential hazards such as roundabouts, traffic signal-controlled junctions, central carriageway islands, traffic calming features and road humps; zebra, pelican, puffin, toucan and pegasus crossings; areas where there are CCTV cameras; areas next to care homes, sheltered accommodation, Accident and Emergency departments and taxi ranks and on public footpaths, alleyways and cycle paths which are located away from roads.
Officials say the county’s street lighting team will be continually reviewing data with its road and community safety teams and the police after the switch-off has taken place.
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Weather for Kenilworth
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
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Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
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