Sunday, 14 December 2008

The Scientific way to turn off the lights

One of the hottest potatoes in Welsh local government has been the issue of streetlighting and when to turn off.

To date councils have offered seemingly random selections done the deed and waited for the howls of protest. However there is a different and more scientific approach.

Almost every authority will have their streetlights stored within a geographic information system. In these cases it becomes possible to treat the issue in the way you would a planning application and check them against a set of consulted upon constraints.

Do they light:
steps (sourced off Ordnance Survey mapping);
CCTV cameras (source Crime and disorder partnership);
road junctions (sourced off Ordnance Survey mapping);
safe routes to schools (source education department);
access to care homes;

The list that can be developed is easy to imagine. The question then is a case of rating each light in turn and switching off those that fail to meet a certain criteria or weighted score.

While the outcome itself may be painful at least we would provide a transparent consultative approach to the problem with which the electorate can be engaged

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