Part night lighting and LED conversion FAQS

The council has completed a programme to convert all the county borough’s street lanterns to LED and at the same time implement part night lighting, between the hours of midnight and 5.30am, to all lighting, except at junctions and in major town centres. The programme commenced at the beginning of April 2019. 

Can Caerphilly County Borough Council legally turn off lights?

There is no statutory requirement on local authorities in the United Kingdom to provide public lighting.  In England and Wales, the Highways Act 1980 empowers a Highway Authority to provide lighting for any highway or proposed highway under their responsibility.  Highway Authorities have a duty of care to the road user, but this does not imply any duty on the Highway Authority to keep the street lighting operational. 

Why can’t you only switch off every other light? (1 in 2)

This has been considered but it will not enable the council to meet its objectives regarding energy cost increases and carbon reduction savings. It would also mean lots of variations in the level of street lighting, which is not considered appropriate for highway users.

Can I pay to keep the street light outside my house on?

No, part night lighting is to help Caerphilly County Borough Council achieve street lighting energy savings that contribute to the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) and mitigate energy cost increases and carbon reduction savings. The reduction in carbon emissions is a commitment to the prevention of the long term threat of climate change to which energy reduction plays a key role.

The street lighting energy savings will contribute to the authority’s Well Being Objective 4: Promote a modern, integrated and sustainable transport system that increases opportunity, promotes prosperity and minimises the adverse impacts on the environment.

Will I get a reduction in my council tax?

Council tax is a mix of property-based tax and person-based tax that includes elements for all council services; it is a consolidated tax, payable in its entirety in line with the relevant band of the property concerned, therefore it is not possible to reduce any element that goes towards paying for any particular service.

Why my street?

The wide spread introduction of part night lighting and LED conversion within all residential areas will reflect a consistent approach to street lighting across Caerphilly county borough.

What happens if there is an increase in post switch off road traffic collisions or crime levels where part night lighting is in operation?

A recent study led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, in partnership with University College London, focused on offences more likely to occur at night, including burglary, theft of or from a vehicle, robbery, violence and sexual assault. Overall, there was no evidence of an association between reduced street lighting and increased crime.

All roads affected by this change in policy will be monitored for increases in the accident statistics and should any issues become apparent appropriate investigation measures will be taken by the council’s Road Safety team.

What about people who are partially sighted, elderly or undertake shift work?

The introduction of part night lighting is not based on personal circumstances. The clearer, more focused street lighting provided by LED units should assist poorly sighted individuals, as well as helping define the less able bodied to be identified on or around the highway.

Can I claim against the council if I am injured during the hours when street lights are not lit?

There is no statutory requirement on local authorities in the United Kingdom to provide public lighting.  Many roads and paths are not lit at all and highway users need to adjust their behaviour according to the prevailing conditions.

What happens if the cost of my car/home insurance increases due to part night lighting?

While providing a generally welcome benefit, the street lighting system is not installed to provide security lighting or lighting for the access or egress into properties. 

How much will this programme of work cost to implement?

While costing around £4.2 million to implement in total initially, the council has been successful in obtaining Salix funding to the tune of £4.1 million. This is interest free funding to the public sector to enable them to improve their energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills.

What are the likely energy savings?

Full year energy savings are expected to be £940,000 and 6,884,477KWh. Since implementation of this policy, the energy unit rate in kWh has increased by 13.66%.

Who made the decision to implement part night lighting?

A report on Future Lighting and Energy Saving Proposals was considered by the cross-party Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee in October 2018. Their recommendations were approved at a meeting Cabinet during November 2018 and the decision was again ratified by Full Council in October 2020.

Why were residents not consulted?

Prior to the 2012 implementation of the “Reduction in Street Lighting Operating Hours” policy, extensive consultation was carried out with adjoining local authorities, the Business Forum, Community and Town Councils, Community Partnerships, Community Safety Partnership, Council departments, disability groups, Emergency Services, Sirhowy Enterprise Way Ltd, the Viewpoint Panel, Western Power Distribution, the Youth Forum and others. 

Residents were also asked to take part in a survey to determine their preferred energy saving options of which widespread part night lighting throughout the Borough was included.

Which other county borough have introduced part night lighting?

many of our neighbouring authorities have undertaken a reduction in the street lighting operating hours.

Can my light have a shield fitted?

The light output of the LED lanterns has been chosen to replicate that of the sodium lanterns being replaced, though if looked at directly the lantern may appear to be brighter. All requests for shields will be considered but the installation of shields or louvres is generally unnecessary and in the majority of cases Caerphilly CBC will require a non - refundable contribution towards the cost of these works of £50.00 (inclusive of vat).

Please note that the installation of any shield may not fully address your concerns or expectations.

Is the policy going to be reviewed?

Like so many other councils across the country, we took the decision to reduce carbon emissions and costs, through a phased introduction of new replacement LED light installation, coupled with selected part-night lighting (switch off at midnight for five and a half hours). This programme has recently concluded and our existing policy position, sets out the need to review the impact of these changes once a reasonable period of time has passed. This review, when undertaken will capture and consider the full impact of these changes as well as set out our next steps.

I believe that crime in my area has increased, what is going to be done about it?

Throughout the implementation of this programme, officers have met with colleagues from Heddlu Gwent Police to review our crime statistics and any representations that have been made and these have been addressed on a case by case basis. As the street lighting programme has recently been completed, meetings between Heddlu Gwent Police and Council officers will continue on a quarterly basis to consider area and localised crime data, which will be supplemented with data from the Community safety partnerships and any other relevant sources of data. However, Heddlu Gwent Police indicate that as with the national surveys that have already been undertaken, similarly within the Caerphilly Borough to date there is no increase in crime associated with the reduction in the street lighting operating hours.

My light goes “off” before 00.00hrs or is not “on” when I leave for work at 05.30

All street lighting affected by the policy is to switch off at midnight for five and a half hours. A natural day is 23 hours and 56 minutes and does not conform to a 24 hour period. Solar midnight varies throughout the calendar year by as much as 15 minutes before and after 00.00 hours affecting both the switch “off” and switch “on” times. The positioning of the photocell mounted to each lantern and the presentation to the horizon has impact on the switching (as each street lighting column has a unique latitude/longitude/orientation) and these parameters cannot be adjusted. The photocell manufacturer has developed this control equipment to operate effectively throughout Caerphilly Borough within its location in the northern hemisphere. As each photocell self determines its operation and compensates for the naturally changing dark period, there could be some very minor variances with the switch of times. These times will be close to midnight based on the product tolerance.

Following the daylight saving change between Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and British Summer Time (BST) the lights are switching “off” / coming “on” early / late.

The lantern photocells will take approximately 7 days to re-establish the midnight switching following the change to daylight saving.