Big cost to fix street lighting

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Thousands of pounds will be spent on changing street lighting in East Sussex after residents were left in the dark because of lighting censors switching off at the wrong time.

They had been installed to save East Sussex County Council money following consultation with residents about reducing the number of lights in some streets and dimming others to help slash costs.

But the lights had been turning off at 1.30am and back on an hour later at 6.30am rather than 12.30am and 5.30am.

The problem is affecting streets in Seaford, Newhaven, Peacehaven and Telscombe and the cost could run up to £50,000.

Councillor Carl Maynard, lead cabinet member for transport and environment, said, “Over the past couple of weeks as the mornings have become darker, it has come to our attention that lighting sensors which have been fitted in Seaford, Newhaven, Peacehaven and Telscombe don’t have a day-light saving setting and so have been switching off an hour later at 1:30am and back on an hour later at 6:30am during the summer, rather than 12:30am and 5:30am as had been expected.

“A relatively small number of people have contacted us about this and where there have been concerns we’ve already replaced lights with ones that include day-light saving.

“The problem only affects 7% of our street lights and will correct itself on Sunday morning when the clocks go back, but we are working with our street lighting contractor, Colas, to put it right from now on – and residents can be assured there will be no cost to the tax payer.”

Not all sensors such as those in non-residential areas will need to be replaced immediately.

A spokesperson for East Sussex County Council (ESCC) said the cost of fixing the problem would not come from the public purse. ESCC maintains around 45,000 street lights.

Councillor David Tutt, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the county council, said, “I have written to Councillor Carl Maynard to seek assurance that this is a contractor error and that the money will not come from the public purse.”