More thoughts on part-night street lighting in Cowick

Our recent Cowick newsletter in and around Cowick Hill mentioned the recently announced plans to roll-out part-night street lighting across Exeter and asked residents for comments.

Many have tried to look at the proposals logically and replied extolling the environmental issues and understanding the cost benefits. One was keen that didn’t become party political issue, eg ‘Tories threatening to switch off lights’.

This is my response to that resident:

Please be aware that this is not a party political issue, it is a County vs. City issue.

DCC Street Lighting Officers have switching the lights off all over Devon since 2011 and at a recent briefing to councillors they said Exeter is not different to elsewhere in the county. I personally question that statement, Exeter IS different from Exmouth, East Budleigh, Black Dog, etc.

If and when PNSL is introduced into Exeter it must be in a measured and consider way. At present DCC in pre-consultation period with stakeholder (councillors and Police, but not, I believe, Fire, Ambulance, Exeter Community Safety partnership, businesses).

With pressure from local city and county councillors of all colours, DCC will then consult the public – ideally in a meaningful way.

But their current timetable suggests that by the end of October, PNSL will be in operation across the whole of the city, with the exception of the city centre area which will remain lit throughout the night.

My personal view is that I would welcome the PNSL scheme – it only if it can be proved to be safe- but I want to respresent the views of Cowick’s residents.

Many people have a fear that crime will rise as a result of PNSL.

Anecdotes suggest that the true picture is that crime does NOT rise, and some areas have suggested crime actually falls.

But I need to be sure of the facts…

At that meeting – and a subsequent one with local Neighbourhood Police Teams in Exeter – I have asked for proof in the form of hard evidence. I will update you on that once I have an answer.

The initial reason for implementing PNSL from when it was first broached in Feb 2007 was to reduce emissions and cut the carbon footprint of DCC. However, now it appears to be a solely cost cutting measure.

Since 2007, the cost of LED lighting to replace SON lamps has come down dramatically, yet DCC still refuse to consider this technology, not even for new developments. My research show that on new LED lamp costs around £270-300 per unit as apposed to £200-230 per SON unit.

I wish that DCC would take the lead from Plymouth City Council who are replacing their entire stock of SON lamps with LED ones, using 25-year loan from Public Sector Borrowing Rate.

This will reduce PCC energy consumption BY 70%, pay back time will be 10 years max and the investment will show an overall return of 15%.

DCC are not even considering upgrading the city centre area from SON to LED.

An incidental question relating to Cowick Hill, and in particular your side of it. I have a worry about redoing light output here, what with the steep steps. Is this worry justified?

Please be assured,  I and my Labour colleagues will continue to work towards what the residents of Cowick feel safest with in respect of PNSL

Best wishes



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