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Agenda item

A Common Sense Plan for Safe and Sensible Street Lighting

This report provides details of the County Council’s plan for safe and sensible street lighting and requests Members’ views on the proposals.

Minutes:

The Director for Kent Highways introduced the report which provided details of Kent County Council’s plan for safe and sensible street lighting and requested Members’ views on the proposals.

 

He advised that the County Council spent nearly £6million on energy for street lighting and that there was no legal requirement for them to provide lighting except where there was a link to road safety.  Kent had therefore adopted a policy to reduce street lighting in two phases.

 

Members were advised that the first stage was a trial switch off.  It was originally planned for lighting columns to be removed, however following further legal advice, these lighting columns could now remain during the trial period.  This phase would affect approximately 3000 lighting columns across Kent and would mainly be on interconnecting roads, where if the roads were being built today, street lighting would not be incorporated.

 

The Board were reassured that any accidents reported for the last 19 years had been considered and no lighting would be removed where there had been a critical crash record.

 

He advised that this phase would not start immediately, and it was expected that the switch off would start in June/July and welcomed Members views on the proposal.

 

The Chairman advised that she had received concerns from the Parish and Town Councils that they had not been consulted on the proposals.

 

It was clarified that this was a policy decision that had been made by Kent County Council and that local member comments were welcomed on the proposals.  It could be considered by the Dartford Association of Parish and Town Councils, however they would need to understand that their view on the policy was not being sought only the identified locations for the trial.

 

As part of the discussion, Members raised the following questions: -

 

·         Does the presence of street lighting indicate that it is a 30mph zone?

 

The Project Manager advised that the presence of street lighting in most residential streets indicated that the speed limit was 30mph.  Kent were currently seeking legal advice on its position.

 

·         When lighting is removed will unsightly stumps retain like those currently seen throughout the Borough?

 

The District Manager advised that the street lighting column stumps that are currently found throughout the Borough are due to a different project that is currently being undertaking.  A recent audit of the lighting columns identified some columns that needed to be removed for safety reasons.  These would all be replaced by the end of March and the old columns removed once the power had been diverted to the new lighting.

 

·         What cost will there be to add devices to lighting columns so that they are turned off at different times?

 

The Director for Kent Highways advised that the challenge was set that there was payback period of five years or less for the project.

 

·         The exclusion criteria listed (page 13/14) refers to areas identified by the Police as having an existing records of crime or having the potential for increased crime levels if the street lighting is changed.  Can any other organisations other than the Police comment?

 

The Project Manager advised that this was a generic term and all organisations involved in the prevention of crime could comment as it would be a proactive trial.

 

 

Members of the Board considered each location and resolved as follows: -

 

                        RESOLVED:

 

(1)  That Kent County Council be asked to note the Board’s comments for each trial switch off location before determining on how to proceed:

 

Bob Dunn Way – no objection to the trial switch off

 

Bean Lane – no objection to the trial switch off

 

Leyton Cross Road – concern was raised that due to the bend in the road this was considered locally as an accident black spot.  There were also numerous community facilities in the area and concern was raised how the switch off would affect their use.  Members resolved that Part Night Lighting should be implemented and not the Trial Switch off

 

Birchwood Road – no objection to the trial switch off

 

Watling Street – no objection to the trial switch off, although Members requested that consideration be given to nightworkers at the hospital who were unable to park at the hospital.

 

Hawley Road – no objection to the trial switch off

 

Barn End Lane – no objection to the trial switch off

 

Old Bexley Lane – this was identified as a route used by children to reach local schools and Members did not support the trial switch off. Members resolved that Part Night Lighting should be implemented and not the Trial Switch off.

 

Shepherds Lane – this was identified as a route used by children to reach local schools and Members did not support the trial switch off.  Members resolved that Part Night Lighting should be implemented and not the Trial Switch off.

 

Cotton Lane – due to the issue with horses grazing illegally escaping onto the highway, Members requested that this be given consideration before confirming as a trial location.

 

(2)          That the exclusion criteria used for the part-night Lighting initiative be noted without amendment.

 

(3)          That the hours of 12.00 midnight to 5.30am for switch off for Part-night Lighting for Phase Two be noted without amendment.

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