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Streets left in the dark by mistake, admits KCC

Street lights that should have been left on were turned off by mistake, Kent County Council has admitted.

In a report it said:

  • In Swanscombe a “number of lights should have remained on”.
  • In Ingress Park some non-KCC lights may have been “inadvertently included”.

Many street lights across Gravesham and Dartford have been switched off.

The aim is to reduce energy costs, carbon emissions and light pollution by turning off about 70,000 lights of the county’s 120,000 lights – between midnight and 5.30am or 1am and 6.30am during British Summer Time.

Angry residents complaining about street lights

In a report to Dartford council, Behdad Haratbar, head of works, highways, transportation and waste at County Hall, said: “Given the scale of this work, we accept that the exclusion criteria may not have been correctly applied in a small number of cases.

"The total number that we have reverted to all-night operation is less than 2%.

“We would be happy to review other sites where individuals feel that the exclusion criteria have not been correctly applied.

"However there is no scope for exceptions to be made as the above approach is now policy.”

KCC said the switch-off followed talks with the police and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

The plan was discussed with the Kent Association of Local Councils and all 12 Joint Transportation Boards.

KCC reported that 75% of residents consulted backed the project, reported to save £1m and cut down on 5,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

Mr Haratbar said: “There is a perception that absence of street lighting will lead to increased crime. However, statistics show that majority of burglaries are carried out during daylight hours when householders are likely to be at work.

“It is important that changes in crime patterns are considered in a methodical way rather than using anecdotal evidence.

"We continue to work closely with police to monitor crime and will review the lighting requirements if any increase can be attributed to the absence of street lighting.

Kent Police have said that it is too early to give any indication as to whether there is any impact on crime.”

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