UNSPENT MONEY is set to go towards addressing residents’ concerns over street lighting in Bracknell Forest.

The council’s LED light installation programme has seen more than 13,000 energy saving diodes installed in the borough as the scheme nears completion.

Councillor John Porter revealed the council has received more than 250 comments from locals about the new lights.

He told his fellow councillors: “We react very quickly to complaints.

“Sometimes somebody’s comments are a matter of perception, not actual fact. The perception is that it’s going to be darker (because of the lights) but actually, they (the lights) are just as bright, if not brighter.

“It is all now installed and we are now going to go back and re-address all the comments, and with the surplus revenue we are going to put it right and our residents will be happy with the outcome from this council.”

Budget documents showed the council is set to save almost £100,000 in the 2019-2020 financial year from its multi-million-pound investments in LED lighting.

And at last week’s budget meeting (February 27), Labour councillor Mary Temperton raised concerns about the quality of some of the lighting.

She said: “I note the savings because of the introduction of the LED lighting. I fully supported this project but the lights in many areas are ineffective.

“The poles are too short. In some locations, there are not enough of them and they often light up the roads, not the paths.

“The lights are not effective in estates designed with housing squares. Some of this saving should be used to make the scheme effective on all roads. Small changes would make a lot of difference.”

Comments made by residents are being mapped on geographic information systems to help officers attend to areas where concerns have been raised.

Councillor Sandra Ingham asked Cllr John Porter and officers is there had been a link between an increase in anti-social behaviour and lighting levels.

A Bracknell Forest Council officer told councillors that there was not currently a known correlation between crime rates and lighting levels, but added that the council and the police are looking at all evidence available to understand if there is.

The LED installation project started in 2015 and will cost the council around £7.3 million, with savings of more than £12 million anticipated over the next three decades.

Installing “greener, more energy efficient” lighting is helping the council to reduce its carbon emissions by up to 30 per cent before 2030.

Cllr Chris Turrell told members of the environment, culture and communities overview and scrutiny panel, at a meeting on Tuesday, March 5, that the scheme represented an “important change”.

He continued: “There are financial savings and in terms of our carbon footprint.

“We want to be absolutely certain we have got things right for residents.”