'Safe and Sensible' Street Lights

The Safe and Sensible lighting initiative is a program being undertaken by the Kent County Council in order to reduce costs, carbon emissions, and light pollution. 2,500 street lights will be turned off on a trial basis for one year, and 70,000 street lights will be turned off between 12am and 5.30am. Kent County Council cites costs and environmental benefits as the two main reasons for undertaking the project.

Cited Costs

  • With no changes, Kent's energy costs for street lights would cost £6.4 million for 2014/2015.
  • With no changes, 29,000 tonnes of carbon emissions will be produced by Kent's street lights per year.
  • With changes, carbon emissions would be reduced by approximately 5,000 tonnes per year. In addition, light pollution would be reduced
  • With changes, energy costs will be reduced by about £1 million per year. The projected cost of about £4.2 million would be recovered within 4 to 5 years.

Areas Affected

  • Street lights that will be turned off for one year on a trial basis include those in Dover, Gravesham, Ashford, Dartford, Shepway, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Swale, Maidstone, Thanet, Tonbridge and Malling and Canterbury.
  • Street lights that will be turned off only during certain night time hours include those in Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling, Ashford, Gravesham, Dartford, Shepway, Dover, Swale, Maidstone, Canterbury, and Thanet.

What Adam has said and done about the Initiative

  • June 2014: Adam made representations to Councilor David Brazier, who is the Kent County Council's Cabinet member for Transport and Environment.

  • September 2014: Adam met with Kent County Council leader Paul Carter and Cabinet member David Brazier to talk about the concerns residents were expressing.

  • September 2014: September 2014: Adam sent a list a questions to Cabinet member David Brazier about the police's position on the initiative. Some of the questions were:
    • Are Kent Police in favour of reduced street lighting?
    • David Brazier responded, "Their viewpoint is that they 'cannot support the reduction of street lighting'."
    • Might there be unintended consequences for the local economy?
    • David Brazier said, "Please remember that lighting in town centres is unaffected by the programme."
    • Are there any contingency plans to reverse the experiment where crime has shown to have increased?
    • David Brazier said, "If there were to be a new crime problem in a particular area that the police attributed to Safe and Sensible, we would very carefully consider reverting to full time lighting."

  • December 2014: In response to Adam's campaign, Kent County Council agreed to turn the street lights on between 12am and 05.30am outside a number of houses in The Warren, Gravesend. Full article in the Gravesend Reporter here.