Street lights are to be switched off by Caerphilly County Borough Council in a bid to save money.
The council, which is led by Plaid Cymru, has said the plan will also cut down on the local authority’s carbon emissions.
Council bosses have promised to consult with residents about the different options on the table.
Councillor Colin Mann, Plaid’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “Street lighting accounts for 27 per cent of all carbon emissions by the council.
“We need to look at the turning off of lighting both on financial grounds but also on environmental grounds as we strive to reduce the authority’s carbon footprint.
“Four options have been drawn up and the Plaid-led council is asking the residents of the county borough to let us have their views.
“For instance, does it make sense to have street lights on between midnight and 5.30pm along main roads connecting our towns and villages and industrial estates when very few vehicles are on the road?
“We have to look at all areas of spending in the current climate and tackling the issue of street lighting will also reduce our carbon footprint. This is an area all local authorities across Wales are having to look at.”
The options for switching off street lights are:
- Between 12 midnight and 5.30 am on all main roads connecting towns and villages including industrial areas. This will save 850 tonnes of carbon.
- Permanently along all main roads connecting towns and villages including industrial areas saving 1,700 tonnes of carbon.
- Between 12 midnight and 5.30 am everywhere except junctions saving 3,400 tonnes of carbon.
- Between 12 midnight and 5.30 am in residential areas and permanently on all main roads connecting towns and villages including industrial areas. This option will save the most money and cut the most carbon with a saving of 4,300 tonnes.
Residents will be consulted through voting leaflets, a survey of the 1,300 members of the authority’s Viewpoint Panel, through www.caerphilly.gov.uk and at special ‘touch screen’ voting points at Penallta House council offices, Pontllanfraith House council offices, Rhymney Library and Risca Library.
Cllr Mann said that next year’s budget would be another difficult one with the 2.25% increase in funding from the Welsh Assembly Government.
He said: “The council tax rise in the current year at 2.35% was the lowest in Wales. Plaid will do its level best to keep an increase down to the minimum because we are well aware of the economic situation and people’s difficult financial circumstances.”
He also said the council was doing its best to keep job redundancies down to a minimum
He said: “Our aims remain to protect the key frontline services such as social services, education and refuse collections and a report from the budget advisory group will be going to a council scrutiny committee in the new year.”
Earlier this year Cllr Mann admitted that 300 council jobs might be at risk after council leader Lindsay Whittle said the local authority was looking at a £25 million budget gap over the next six years.
The Plaid-led council has faced criticism from opposition councillors on finance issues.
In November Blackwood town councillor Nigel Dix, who also sat on Caerphilly County Borough Council until 2008, quit his post after accusing Caerphilly Council of trying to gag him.
Mr Dix was criticising the council’s decision to invest £15 million of public money in Icelandic banks before they went under last year.
The council has since managed to get £12 million of the cash back.