A plan to make the county's street lighting 'more efficient' will not involve switching off large numbers of lights, the county council has said.

Concerns were raised following a meeting of Powys County Council's finance panel meeting last Friday, October 8, during which it was noted that a planned cost saving from last year's street lighting budget had been rolled forward to this year, sparking fears that areas of the county could be left in the dark.

However a statement from the council issued today said the moves were part of a full re-design of the service, intended to reduce energy usage.

"Powys County Council confirms that there are currently no plans to turn off large numbers of the county's street lights," said a spokeesperson.

"A cost-saving attributed to street lighting was highlighted in the meeting, however, the council is clear that this saving will be achieved by using new, low energy solutions.

"The county-wide redesign will involve reviewing all street lights to access their social, environmental and safety factors, which will determine if the lights will be converted to a part night, part night dimmed lanterns or, in rare cases, removed.

"We envisage that some lights that are currently switched off will be turned back on in priority areas, but that some may well be removed if not deemed necessary."

The council says the work programme will also see further capital investment to update ageing infrastructure, such as installing new columns and signs, plus trenching and laying new cables.

Earlier this year, two county councillors kick started a campaign to have some of the region's lights switched back on following earlier cost cutting measures.

"The provision of street lighting is non-statutory for local authorities; however, Powys County Council appreciate that it is a critical service for residents and communities and, as such, have committed to a redesign of the service." added Cllr Heulwen Hulme, Cabinet Member for Highways.

"The re-design to the lighting service is being carried out in full consultation with the town and community councils as we move into each area of the county in turn.

"Along with making the lighting service more efficient to run with low energy costs, these changes will also significantly reduce our carbon footprint and improve our environmental and social impact and promote public safety and well-being."