NEWPORT City Council has dismissed calls to improve night-time street lighting, amid safety concerns.

One councillor was told his suggestion of staggering switch-off and switch-on times could cause “confusion” for residents.

Most of the city’s lamp posts are switched off at midnight until 6am – hours the council said use of the streets is “lower”.

Two city councillors have raised the matter with the cabinet member for infrastructure – and said national policies on encouraging more walking and public transport should consider people’s safety in the early hours.

In Lliswerry, Andrew Sterry said he was “deeply concerned” by the lights switch-off and had received “several complaints” from residents.

He told the city council he feared for “vulnerable female residents” who, in the winter months, were “leaving their houses at 5am or even 4am in the dark, to get to their place of work by 6am”.

Cllr Sterry proposed a staggered switch off for streetlights, with some deactivated at 10pm, some at 11pm and some at midnight – and reactivated at 4am, 5am and 6am, accordingly.

“This way at least one in three lamppost lights would be on in our streets, that would give residents better visibility and security, rather than all the streetlamps being off together,” he said.

“They would all be off for the same duration, and this should not cost any extra, just on at different times of the evening and early hours.”

The independent Lliswerry councillor added: “It appears from our government policies we are trying to encourage residents to use alternative types of travel, like the buses, trains or cycle but we are not considering their safety travelling to and from their homes using these alternative types of travel.”

This point was also made by David Fouweather, a Conservative councillor from Allt-yr-yn, who said “the Welsh Assembly” (sic) had taken “great delight in restricting the rights of the motorists in order to promote their active travel agenda”.

“With this in mind can you tell me how switching off street lights at night enhances the experience of walking, wheeling and cycling – as clearly this makes our streets less safe to do these things?” he asked the city council.

In response, Laura Lacey, the cabinet member for infrastructure, told the two councillors “the street lighting part night scheme was considered as part of the council’s budget setting process for the financial year 20233/24 and was consulted on through a range of stakeholder groups and formats”.

This included Gwent Police, Cllr Lacey said.

“The part night scheme allows for the highway to be in lighting when it is most used, between the hours of 6am and midnight, with lighting only being off when the use is lower,” she added. “Some areas of the network will also remain in lighting for highway safety reasons.

“The scheme as implemented will achieve a reduction in energy consumption and an associated reduction in carbon emissions.”

Addressing Cllr Sterry’s proposal to stagger the switch-off and switch-on times, Cllr Lacey said: “The proposal has been implemented as agreed and in order to amend to operate in the manner suggested, all photocells would need to be changed to accommodate different timings. 

“It is also the case that different lighting units being on or off at different times would result in confusion.”