VALE residents will be plunged into darkness after cabinet members agreed lights will go out from midnight to 6am throughout the county.

Councillors met on Monday (October 20) and agreed a proposal to flick the switch to ‘off’, with the exceptions at junctions, roundabouts and other selected areas.

The hours that street lights are lit will also change between dusk and midnight, and again from 6am until dawn.

The Vale Council said changing its street lighting policy would reduce CO2 emissions by 1338 tonnes.

Almost a third of the Council’s street lights will be LED by the end of this financial year and plans, though not in place to reduce the lighting times, could be under review.

The cash-strapped council needs to make £32m savings and the authority says the part-time lights would save £1m over those three years.

Savings would be estimated to be around £372,000 a year.

Vale Council cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Rob Curtis said: “Not only will the use of LED technology and part-night lighting help to save a significant amount of money over the next few years, which is essential, it will also have huge environmental benefits for the area.

“We would like to reassure those who may be worried about part-night lighting that we will be having detailed discussions with our emergency service partners to ensure all risk assessments are vigorous and comprehensive, to ensure that all areas remain safe.”

In his report to cabinet, Cllr Curtis added: “The current and future budget positions mean that continuing to light the Vale’s highways throughout the full evening to early morning periods, using our existing stock of conventional, dimmed, low-energy white light and LED street lights is not an option.”

Street lighting campaigner, Simon Nicholas – who has forced other councils to re-examine their LED street-lighting strategies until health implications of blue light are thoroughly explored, failed in his bid to get the item removed from the meeting agenda.

He said the Vale Council should consider dimming the lights as had been done in Cardiff.

Others have voiced concerns about crime and safety.

A Vale Council spokesman said: “The risk assessment calculation will consider issues such as traffic hazards, night time economy areas, crime and disorder and areas where CCTV is in use.”

A South Wales police spokesman said without knowing specific areas it was unable to comment at present.

One man voicing an opinion on social media, said: “Maybe they could have saved money if they hadn't spent a fortune refurbishing their council chambers.”

Another said: “The police and emergency services are going to be even more stretched if this gets the go ahead,” and another said: “What next to save money? Close schools? Open workhouses for the poor and infirmed? How about dropping councillors wages/expenses and paying the chief executive a realistic amount of money?”

Buttrills ward councillor, Ian Johnson called for more information to be provided before proposals were implemented.

He said details regarding traffic accidents and crime should be considered when making a decision – not just savings to the council.

He said: “Residents need to know and feel that they are safe.”

The report said there was no statutory requirement on UK local authorities to provide public lighting, but the council has a statutory duty, under the Highways Act, “to ensure the safety of the highway and this includes any lighting equipment placed on it.”

There are 15,795 street lights in the Vale, reliant on unmetred electricity supplies for power.

28 per cent of the lighting stock is LED.