Kent street lights to be turned back on

Street light
Image caption Kent County Council turned off about half of the county's 120,000 lights

All street lights are to be turned back on in Kent after the county council found a cheaper way to run them.

Kent County Council said converting lights to LED technology would cut its bill by about 60%.

Every residential area will return to all-night lighting.

Part-night lighting was introduced in 2010 with about half of Kent's 120,000 lights turned off. Campaigners opposed it, amid claims of a crime rise, but the council said crime had not risen.

Campaigner Tina Brooker, from Gravesend, said a petition had been signed by about 10,000 people.

Councillor David Brazier, cabinet member for environment and transport said Kent Police had indicated there had been no overall increase in crime since the introduction of part-night lighting.

But he added: "Many residents want all-night lighting and this will be affordable with LED technology."

He said LED would deliver savings in energy and carbon tax and provide a light that was controllable and economical to maintain.

Some lights may remain dimmed after peak hours but all-night lighting will be "here to stay", the council said.

Conversion to LED could start later this year and take three years to complete in a £40m scheme, with work starting in residential areas, followed by town centres and main routes.

Mr Brazier said KCC had most of the funding in place with an interest-free loan from government, but he added: "We shall save £5m a year, and so in seven or eight years, the cost of the scheme will be repaid, and then thereafter of course we'll have that annual saving."

The council said LED had been "prohibitively expensive" until now, but had recently fallen in cost with manufacturers guaranteeing products for up to 20 years.

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