Energy saving technology is the best route to keep the city’s streetlights on at night and allow the County Council to make the financial economies it needs.
An outcry greeted the County Council is plans to cutback on operating streetlights by dimming them and turning them off overnight in residential areas. This has led the City Council’s Labour administration to provide a permanent annual subsidy of £45,500 to keep them on in the city.
Opposition Liberal Democrats are now countering Labour’s plan by proposing that the City Council offers to share the cost of converting the city’s streetlights to LED bulbs. They claim this would enable sufficient saving but would keep the lights on - and avoid the annual subsidy.
“On grounds of safety in the city, with its 24/7 economy and commuting patterns, we Lib Dems have campaigned strongly against leaving the city’s streets dark. But residents have urged us to look for a green solution,” says Cllr Bick.
Lib Dems want the City Council to offer to the County Council half the cost of upgrading current lamps to LED, in a programme integrated with the existing rolling 5 year maintenance cycle. To this end, their budget proposals set aside £150,000 in each of the next 5 years from the City’s above-target reserves.
“Conversion to LED would reduce the energy used in lighting city streets by 40-50%,” says Tim. “This would enable the lights to be kept on at night while the county council makes the saving it needs and the city council avoids a permanent drain on its funds.
“But,just as important, this is a solution that reduces the city’s carbon footprint and provide real leadership from Cambridge in the fight against climate change”, he said.
About Labour’s proposal, Cllr Bick says: “This is really a sticking plaster. It binds the city council to a never-ending subsidy on old fashioned technology. In relative terms the council is income poor and capital rich, so it makes more sense to use unallocated capital to achieve a sustainable solution. And it will also give the city some influence over future lighting policy.
“If this offer is put to the County Council, as we hope, it will be a major incentive for them to invest in LED, by halving its cost in the city,” says Tim.
Contact: Cllr Tim Bick – 07720 413173 – [email protected]