Last month, Island Echo was told that a local councillor had claimed that street lighting would be switched off in parts of the Island at periods during the night. Although the Isle of Wight Council has now confirmed that there are no proposals to switch off the street lights altogether, they have said that the brightness of each light is being discussed.
The authority says that public safety is a ‘top priority’ when considering the correct level of dimming, but that they have always had the intention to take advantage of the ability to adjust lighting levels.
Since their installation prior to 2016, the ‘new’ LED street lights have received much criticism for being too dark and too focused compared to the previous orange street lighting. It is understood that the lights are currently dimmed by around 20% after midnight.
There are over 12,000 LED lights across the Island that have all been installed as part of the PFI contract with Island Roads. However, the council are continuing to look at ways of reducing the PFI bill.
An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson has told Island Echo:
“There are currently no proposals to switch off street lights but discussions are ongoing to establish the correct level of dimming with public safety very much our top priority.
“As a council, we are committed to achieving the objectives set out in the Climate Emergency motion to Full Council last July and we will take the necessary steps to aim towards being a net-zero-carbon Island by 2030. We are also supportive of the Island’s aspiration to achieve International Dark Sky status.
“Thanks to the Highways PFI, we are proud to have one of the best street lighting networks in the country, and our intention was always to take advantage of its ability to adjust lighting levels.
The news could, of course, mean that street lights will become brighter in the future, but that would so against making ‘reductions in energy and cost’. The council spokesperson adds:
“Our state-of-the-art LED street lights allow us to achieve good lighting levels, whilst maintaining safe highway conditions and above all, make valuable reductions in carbon, energy and cost”.
The Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is working with the Council and Island Roads to change the colour temperature of street lighting in the area of Military Road, changing the blue light to a more yellow light. The Council say they are supportive of the Island’s aspiration to achieve International Dark Sky status.