Caerphilly’s Labour Assembly Member Jeff Cuthbert has hit out at plans by the council to switch off street lights to save cash.
Plaid Cymru-controlled Caerphilly County Borough Council is carrying out a public consultation on the different options for switching off the lights.
But Mr Cuthbert has claimed the consultation has been “bungled”.
He said: “It’s clear that this consultation is not really a consultation at all and that the council has already made up its mind.
“Why else would you bring forward a set of proposals which didn’t include an option to leave the lights on?
“Many residents throughout Caerphilly town as well as the Aber and Rhymney Valleys feel deeply uncomfortable at having street lights switched off.
“It’s obvious that in reality this is little more than a box ticking exercise. This is especially shocking given the fact that the leader of the council is on record as stating there was no intention to switch off more lights in the county borough.
“Residents can voice their concerns by signing a petition at www.keepourstreetlightson.com”
The options the council has presented 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.
Council leader Lindsay Whittle came under attack at a recent council meeting over the plans from Labour councillor Jonathan Wilson.
In a written question Cllr Wilson asked Cllr Whittle to apologise after “misleading” comments he made six months ago in a column for the Campaign newspaper.
Cllr Whittle said his comments were responding to press articles printed at the time which Labour councillors suggested the A472 switch-off, between midnight and 5.30am, could lead to the switching off of other lights.
He said: “The comments I made were to clarify the situation and were in keeping with the factual situation at that time.
“Neither I, nor my cabinet, have taken any decision to switch off any other lights.”
Consultation on the street light switch off ends on February 5. Residents can have their say by visiting www.caerphilly.gov.uk