You may have read in the local press that Eden District Council (EDC) will no longer be providing footway lighting. Here is some information as to what that means for our parish:
In 2012 Electricity North West (ENWL) carried out a survey of lights and required that all lights that did not belong to them were taken off their poles; which was done. EDC carried out a survey of the lights that were left, with some resulting maintenance work. EDC’s lights are shown on these plans.
Footway lighting is not a statutory duty of local councils, and EDC is within its rights to stop providing them. The only way to keep the lights in our parish is if they are paid for from the parish precept – which would mean the precept would have to increase – see below for details:
The approximate annual running costs for Ainstable’s existing footway lights:
£ 250 p/a servicing
+ £ 100 p/a electricity
x 16 lights
= £5,600 added to the precept.
For a Band D property, this would mean an extra £24.40 per year on your council tax – about 50% more than you are paying now.
These figures assume there are no large repair bills. Repairing or replacing a pole will be around £2,500 each – on top of the annual running costs shown above.
We carried out a public consultation and discovered that most residents did not want the lights; you value the dark skies and would prefer to carry a torch, if necessary, when out and about at night. Accordingly, the parish council resolved not to adopt any of the EDC footway lights.
The lights are currently in good working order. They will remain until they are no longer fit for use, at which point EDC will remove them.
Once the EDC lights are gone, the parish council is prepared to look at putting solar powered lights, either on poles or a bollard on the ground, into locations where residents think they would be useful. The installation costs are much lower and the running costs of a solar powered light are minimal. We would try to find grants to fund the installation.