Council hoping to light up Newport with canal path solar-powered lights

Newport Town Council is on a mission to make the town safer than ever for walkers and cyclists with solar-powered pavement lights along the canal.

The solar lights along the towpath
The solar lights along the towpath

As dark days draw closer, the town council and Councillor Tim Nelson, wanted to ensure the towpath and other areas in town could be safe for users.

A new trial of solar pavement lights, created by SolarEye, have been a success and feedback has been positive.

They were installed on a 100m stretch from the town bridge to Waterside mews.

The council are now looking to install more of the lights across the towpath and in other well-used but poorly lit areas in the town.

The solar lights working at night along the towpath

Councillor Tim Nelson said: "I would like one day to illuminate all the towpath, to make it feel safer to more vulnerable users, and to extend the use for walkers and cyclists during the day, and during the seasons.

"I've surveyed the length of the canal towpath, and it is a dark alley at night. We can do better. These lights were recommended by the Telford & Wrekin Council ecology officer, and I'm grateful to Newport Town Council and my colleagues on the council for sponsoring this trial."

The lights are made from tough ABS plastic, and charge in the day from sunlight, and light up the pathway at night. The purpose is to show the direction of a path, with minimal impact on wildlife such as bats.

Councillor Nelson added: "This comes from a wider vision I have for making the canal more accessible. It's principally a walking space, it is also used for anglers and boats, but it is a wide, flat, stretch that people in Newport love to walk along.

The company who created the solar lights

"But the use is restricted because at night it is a dark place. No part of it is lit. But a part of my vision, alongside improving the canal path itself, is to make the path for accessible in winter and darker seasons.

"They can last a minimum of eight years and they just show people where the path goes, making it much safer for walking.

"The next step is to look at the next section of pathway within the town that needs these lights. There are lots of sections in Newport that could benefit from this."

Councillor Nelson hopes to install the lights along the canal path, and in other areas in town, perhaps including the parks where anti-social behaviour has been happening recently.

He hopes lighting up where the path is will make people feel more safe in the town, and because they don't hinder wildlife or the environment, they are a good first step for the town to be environmentally viable.

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