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KCC has yet to convert 3,009 street lights in Thanet

By Katie Davis

Cllr Karen Constantine and Cllr Jenny Matterface are leading a street light fight in a bid to get all of Thanet’s street lights turned on.

A petition has been set up calling on KCC leader Paul Carter to take "every step he can to find the funding to switch on all our (Thanet’s) streetlights" as KCC has yet to convert more than 3,000 street lights under a county-wide scheme.

Karen said: “A 1000 signatures are needed.

Cllr Karen Constantine, Cllr Jenny Matterface with volunteer Gary Smith collecting signatures
Cllr Karen Constantine, Cllr Jenny Matterface with volunteer Gary Smith collecting signatures

“Thirty percent of all Thanet street lights are out and are not going to be switched back on.

“This is only happening in Thanet. The rest of Kent has been successfully transferred to LED lights.

“People are complaining about lights in their streets not working planning to report them.

“This won’t make much difference as KCC has run out of money for this project and we must campaign together to get this problem fixed.

“This is urgent.

“Our County Council is being starved of money - it’s a situation that will get worse as the public spending dries up.

“I’m worried that KCC will not find the money for this and our streets will remain dark through the winter - for years to come.”

The petition will be delivered to Paul Carter in person.

It reads: “It is outrageous and unacceptable that 2,500 lights are still not on at night across Thanet.

“This is due to lack of funding to change the concrete streetlights to metal to enable the fitting of low cost LED lighting.

“We demand investment for our safety!

“Safety should not be compromised by lack of government funding!

“No-one should be at risk due to unlit streets.

“LED lighting is much cheaper but concrete posts need to be changed as soon as possible.

“Many residents have to be out and about after dark and none should be at risk because the streets are unlit.”

LED street light. Stock pic
LED street light. Stock pic

One resident’s reason for signing reads: “Our safety & that of our friends & neighbours is being compromised, is being placed second to finance all the while KCC officers are living safely, happily and in luxury off of public funds.”

KCC launched a county wide scheme last year to convert 118,000 street lights across Kent to energy efficient LED lights.

Work in Thanet was due to start in December 2016 and expected to be completed by May but the scheme hit a funding problem.

There are 9,931 street lights in the district and 6,922 were converted thanks to the scheme, leaving the remaining 3009 unconverted.

A KCC spokesman said: “Phase one of the LED conversion project is substantially complete, all the conversions that could be completed in this phase have been converted to LED and returned to all-night lighting.

“There are however a number of lights that have been moved to phase two as we have had a number of issues with: access, vegetation and concrete columns, which we are unable to convert at present.

“The residential areas of Thanet has approximately 9,931 street lighting assets for conversion in Phase One, of those we have completed 6,922.

“We still have 3,009 to convert of which around 2,500 are concrete columns - the remainder are ornate style lights that are due for conversion in phase two, as part of the original programme.

“Whilst we have funding for the LED conversions the council had not anticipated such a large number of concrete columns requiring replacement at this stage.

“We are therefore considering funding options for the replacement of the concrete columns, including the submission of a bid against the forthcoming capital programme.

“Subject to funding, we anticipate the replacement programme would be complete in line with the LED project end date of May 2019.”

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