AN ATTEMPT to reduce street lighting costs has been justified by the cabinet member responsible for overseeing the authority’s environmental policy.

Vale Council cabinet member for environment and visible services Cllr Rob Curtis said the aim was to reduce street lighting energy costs and resulting carbon emissions by 20 per cent before 2016 in accordance with its carbon management plan.

The council has implemented a two-year programme to replace a number of its conventional street lamps with low energy LED lanterns.

Cllr Curtis said: “LED lanterns are substantially more energy efficient and have a much longer life than conventional lamps.

“LED lamps are also environmentally friendly as they do not contain toxic chemicals, such as mercury, which are found in traditional street lamps.”

He said LEDs used a white light which offered better visual accuracy and colour-rendering properties to improve clarity and make distinguishing objects easier, provided a general feeling of improved security and also helped generate sharper CCTV images assisting in deterring crime.

He said: “We have had some complaints that private property is no longer illuminated by the street lights as it may have been previously. Residents may not be aware but when street lighting is provided, the council's responsibility is to illuminate the adopted highways and footways only. The lighting of private land or residential property is a matter for the individual owners concerned.”

The council's annual energy bill for street lighting is around £900k and a report to go before cabinet proposes measures aimed at reducing Vale street lighting costs by £200k in 2014/2015.

He said dimming and switching off a number of non-LED units would be considered.