PROPOSALS to switch off streetlights across Caerphilly county borough to help the council in the face of rising electricity costs have been put on hold.

Members of the authority’s regeneration and environment scrutiny committee were presented with a three-phase approach about future lighting and energy saving proposals this week.

Councillors supported plans to convert more than 17,000 lanterns to LED – known as phase one – which would cost £4.25million but offer an annual saving of £611,452.

But proposals to extend part-lighting between 12am and 5.30amto all areas except major town centres and road junctions were not approved.

A recommendation on phase two – extending part-lighting to inner urban routes and connecting roads following LED conversion – was deferred, with members citing a lack of information.

The third phase – all lighting in the borough to be part-lit except major town centres and road junctions after LED conversion – was not supported.

Cllr Colin Elsbury was concerned about the effect of turning of the streetlights for five-and-a-half hours for care home residents.

“I’m quite concerned about that – come to think now there’s four care homes in my ward,” said the Plaid Cymru member for the St Martins ward.

“To turn off all of them at that time is just I think a bit too much.”

Cllr Walter Williams asked about an item in the reports about part-night lighting and the levels of crime, which quoted two English forces – Lincolnshire and Surrey.

“You’re quoting Lincolnshire Police,” said the Labour member for Argoed, “Have you consulted with police locally in Caerphilly? “

Marcus Lloyd, Caerphilly’s acting head of engineering services, said: “Gwent Police haven’t produced any reports that I am aware of, but we haven’t consulted with them as of yet.

“We did previously when we did our previous switch-off.”

Members were informed that despite a reduction in energy usage of 4.5 per cent in the previous year, costs had risen by 12.4 per cent, resulting in a £40,000 increased council spend overall.

The conversion of the 17,011 lanterns would also offer carbon dioxide savings of 2,094 tonnes and a reduction in energy use of 5,082,727 kilowatt hours (kWh).

There are already 4,844 lights in Caerphilly that are part-lit on inter-urban routes between 12am and 5.30am while 3,974 lights have been dimmed after 9pm.