RESIDENTS who were the first to see new energy-efficient street lights installed in their roads have raised concerns the LED bulbs are too bright and ‘obtrusive’.
As part of the council’s pledge to create a sustainable future around 15,000 lights across the city will be replaced with LED bulbs at a cost of around £5.25m, which was partly funded by an interest-free government loan.
It is thought the scheme, which will be completed in 2019, will reduce energy usage by 40 per cent and save £400,000 of taxpayers’ money. The council also said it will improve visibility.
But some residents, who have the new lights, have criticised the scheme.
Rachel Grimes, of Boulton Road, said lighting on her street changed on May 23. The seating area in her garden directly faces a new LED light. She said: ‘It’s pretty obtrusive.
‘We’re planning on getting curtains for our bedroom, which we didn’t really want, as the light creeps round the edges of the blind now. If the council fitted a simple shield round them it would solve a lot of the issues.’
Paul Coombs, of Hanway Road, had a similar problem. He said: ‘It’s like car headlights shining on the house.’
‘They now cause ridiculous amounts of light pollution. You can actually read a book in the light they give off.’
The council’s cabinet member for traffic, Cllr Lynne Stagg, said: ‘So far we have only heard of seven cases out of 1,500 where houses have been too close to the lights and residents have complained about the brightness.
‘There are a few things the council can do to solve this.
‘We can angle the light away, adjust the colour levels of the lights or add a shield to the back of the light.
‘If anyone is experiencing problems with the new lights they can contact the city helpdesk.
‘However, these new lights actually cause less back lighting than the old ones. They are set to a level where they are more blue than yellow which means they save more energy.’
The cost of light alterations was taken into account in the initial £5.25m cost.
Two out of ten areas in Portsmouth have LED streetlights so far, with part of Southsea currently undergoing works.
The project does not include the replacement of heritage, ornate lights or lights on private land.