Local councillor Steve Delaney continues to receive complaints about the new LED lighting, mostly from Kingswells but also from other parts of our area. People have been expressing concerns about safety as a result of the lower levels of illumination.
He has posed a number of additional queries to the council in the hope of finding a way to improve lighting levels which did not run contrary to the council’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions or indeed their requirement to make cost savings to balance the books.
Steve said, “I have asked about lighting levels compared to other areas of Aberdeen where LED bulbs have been installed and I have received assurances that lighting levels there are equivalent to those in Kingswells”.
“I have raised concerns about security on the basis that well lit areas deter criminal activity. I have raised concerns about possible trip hazards if people (especially those who are frail or have poor eyesight) have to walk along poorly lit roads”.
“I have also asked about the specification of these bulbs and looked at the possibility of making changes to somehow improve the lighting levels emitted from them. To date a way forward has yet to be identified”.
“These lights meet or exceed the legal minimum levels for street lighting and there is no obligation on the council to offer a level of illumination above what is currently being installed. Personally, I remain unconvinced these legal minimum lighting levels are insufficient for public safety but they are, as I have said, all that the council is obligated to comply with”.
“My view is that nobody within Aberdeen City Council (officers or councillors) would support a return to the old style light bulbs by way of cost, reliability and environmental factors. Instead, my own focus has been on getting improved lighting levels out of the new LED bulbs and my recommendation is that this is the approach most likely to succeed if indeed it proves possible to find a solution”.
“A constituent recently asked for details of who to complain to and enquired about the possibility and effectiveness of starting a petition. In this respect there are two different routes a member of the public could take. I have since been asked to make this information publicly available and have provided an overview below”.
There used to be a petitions committee but now any valid petition goes directly to the committee whose remit it falls under. Petitions can be online, paper based or a combination of both. Full guidance can be found here.
Any petition which is valid (the relevant criteria is set out in the guidance) and attracts at least 100 valid signatures by its closing date will be placed on the agenda for the next available meeting of the relevant committee.
The person or persons submitting a petition will be invited to attend the committee to present their case to councillors and answer any questions relating to the petition which councillors may wish to ask. It is then for the committee to make a decision on your petition’s proposed outcome but there is no right of appeal on their decision.
Any citizen has the right to make a formal complaint in respect of any service provided to them by the council with which they are dissatisfied. This something individuals would need to do themselves as it is not something which can be taken forward by a councillor.
A letter or email detailing the nature of your complaint should be sent to the Chief Executive, Aberdeen City Council, Marischal College. The Chief Executive will then re-direct the correspondence to the most appropriate person for a response.
Any such letter needs to say that you wish it to be dealt with under the council’s complaints procedure, otherwise it will merely be treated as a service query.
A copy of the council’s complaints procedure should be requested as that will outline the process which must be followed by you, should you remain dissatisfied with the council’s initial response to your complaint.
Ultimately you may refer the matter to the Public Services Ombudsman, should you remain dissatisfied after following the complaints process to its conclusion, should you feel this to be necessary.
There is no cost attached to this course of action but the Ombudsman will immediately reject your complaint if you have not followed and fully exhausted the council’s own complaints procedure first.