Redbridge Council cuts street light spending by £700,000
PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:45 25 March 2019
Redbridge Council has slashed spending on street lights by hundreds of thousands of pounds over the last five years, figures reveal.
Between April and December 2018, the local authority spent £1 million on lighting up lamps in the borough according to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
During the same period in 2013, the council spent £1.7m, after the figures were adjusted for inflation which is a real-term cut of 41per cent over five years.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has urged councils to be cautious about dimming or switching off street lights, warning that poorly lit roads can increase the risk of car crashes.
It explained that money saved by switching off street lights can come at the cost of personal safety, and could “ultimately lead to lives being lost” if councils are not careful.
“Councils should only reduce lighting if they are sure that it will not lead to an increase in accidents, or put personal safety at risk, and accident rates should be monitored,” said head of road safety, Nick Lloyd.
“It is also important that councils do all they can to warn drivers, riders and walkers that lights are being switched off or dimmed, and give advice about what they should do to protect themselves.”
Redbridge councillor and cabinet member for civic pride, John Howard, said the local authority has just finished a two-year street lighting project.
“The council has just completed a £4.4m project that has delivered improved lighting and energy saving up to 60pc in real terms, which has enabled the council to make savings in street lighting running costs including maintenance,” he said.
“This saving has been achieved while also improving the quality of the new lighting.
“This project revamped all the street lights in the borough over the last two years, replacing its old lighting with more energy efficient LED ones.”
Leader of Redbridge Council, Councillor Jas Athwal added: “We have yet again delivered on one of our manifesto promises and completed an investment of £4.4m into delivering brighter, more efficient street lighting across the borough.
“Now this investment is complete our street lights use less energy while emitting a brighter light. The council’s carbon footprint has been reduced and we are able to save money – this is a triple win for residents, the council budget and also for the planet.”
The Local Government Association (LGA) said when councils move to LED lighting they can save the taxpayer money and improve the environment in a “safe way”. “With local government facing a funding gap of £8 billion by 2025, reducing or dimming street lights can also free up vital cash to protect under pressure services such as child protection, adult social care, collecting bins and filling potholes,” a LGA spokesman said.