Survey over street lighting in village

Councillor George Carr has been carrying out a ballot survey.
Councillor George Carr has been carrying out a ballot survey.
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The finishing touches are being put to a survey taking in the entire village of Auchenblae to gauge opinion on a streetlight scheme.

Mearns Conservative Councillor George Carr has been carrying out the survey recently.

Following a council decision in 2011 to pilot six villages in Aberdeenshire having their street lights out between midnight and 6am, concerns have been growing in Auchenblae about the switch off.

Cllr Carr said “ The council did a survey of residents in Auchenblae over November 2012 and, from the 43% who responded, a majority of 63% wished the lights to remain off during the night.

‘‘However, the flooding of December 2012 and other incidents in the village have resulted in growing unease among many about the trial. I have seen sight of a police report into crimes committed in Auchenblae, but it falls short of them suggesting a return to full lighting.

‘‘I have agreed to survey each household with a ballot paper which can be returned to a ballot box in the local shop.

‘‘The lights remain off not because of cost saving, but as a result of the ballot of residents conducted by the council in 2012.

‘‘Only one of the original six villages has voted to restore full lighting, and this has been done.

‘‘With over 40,000 lights over Aberdeenshire costing £1.6m annually, new ways of reducing energy use are being depoyed as old systems become obsolete and require replacement. Dimming, and the use of new energy efficient lighting columns has the potential to return greater savings in the long term.

‘‘The original pilot study was to determine the effects of a street switch off and, if it was successful, it might have been one of the options used by the council to save money for core services. Thankfully this has not proved necessary owing to prudent management of Council budgets.

‘‘It will now be up to villagers to return their ballot papers and, if a change of heart is reflected in the ballot, I will campaign for a return to full street lighting.”