Caerphilly County Borough Council has switched off more than three times the number street lights compared to other councils in the Gwent area.
According to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Plaid Cymru, Caerphilly Council have switched off 22,695 street lights between 2017/18 and 2020.
The lights are switched off between the hours of midnight and 5.30am, except at junctions and in major town centres.
Newport council said it had turned off between 6,000 and 7,000 since 2017-18, Blaenau Gwent 6,000, Monmouthshire 1,600 and Torfaen had switched off none. Torfaen did switch off 4,700 lights in 2009.
Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, said: “This investigation by Plaid Cymru shows how Labour-run Caerphilly Council is totally out-of-step with other Gwent authorities.
“They’ve plunged people in county borough into the dark and have done so in a much more heavy-handed and unnecessary way than other councils. Older people should not have to feel vulnerable in their own homes. We are still receiving many complaints about this issue.”
The council has argued the move is aimed at reducing the authority’s carbon footprint and electricity bills and does not compromise public safety.
However, Labour’s Member of Parliament Wayne David and Senedd Member Hefin David, who both represent Caerphilly, have previously called for the policy to be reviewed – putting them at odds with their party colleagues on the council.
Plaid Cymru’s South Wales East Senedd Member Delyth Jewell has also criticised the policy.
A motion calling for the policy to be reviewed, tabled by Blackwood’s Independent councillor Kevin Etheridge and backed by the Plaid Cymru group, was rejected by councillors in October this year.
- Labour’s Jeff Cuthbert re-elected as Gwent’s Police and Crime Commissioner
- Regional Senedd Members for South Wales East confirmed
- Labour holds Islwyn: Rhianon Passmore re-elected
- Caerphilly re-elects Labour’s Hefin David as its Senedd Member
- Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney re-elects Labour’s Dawn Bowden as its Senedd Member
A spokesman for Caerphilly council said: “The decision to implement part-night lighting was made as a result of our environmental commitment, and the requirement to make significant financial and carbon savings.
“The decision was also supported by the council’s cross-party environment and regeneration scrutiny committee.
“We have declared a climate emergency and the council has made a commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. A reduction in carbon through street lighting is part of this process.”
The council’s deputy leader, Cllr Sean Morgan, said neighbouring areas are smaller with “far fewer” street lights.
“For too many years we’ve had politicians who say that they are concerned about the climate emergency yet do nothing about it,” Cllr Morgan said.
“The Labour administration at Caerphilly have a track record of tackling the climate emergency, while opposition parties claim environmental concerns yet they continue to oppose real action and use hyperbole and scaremongering to reinforce their groundless arguments.”
Additional material by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
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