Monday, 17 March 2014

Street Light Replacement: A Warning To Parishes from Cllr Sebastian Kindersley

Cllr Sebastian Kindersley
Ho hum. Here’s a warning to Parishes who are yet to have contact about their street lights being replaced. The history behind this is that Cambridgeshire has 55,000 streetlights; many of which are nearing their end of life. So the County applied for Private Finance Initiative credits from the Government to undertake the replacement of those lights over a 25 year period in 2010 and no lights were to be removed. Balfour Beatty won the subsequent tender. However the recession hit and the Government reduced the PFI cost - hence the need to remove 5,500 (10%) of all lights across the County; the new energy-efficient lights and the overnight dimming that is proposed. These steps will reduce the energy used by 46% - which is a saving of 4500 tonnes of carbon a year.

As Gamlingay is being done early in the process it is fair to say the lights were probably judged to be in a worse state than many other places which are largely newer eg Milton. What has also emerged during the process is that the County Council has NO DUTY to light streets at all although it has a duty of care to road users and has an obligation to light obstructions on the highway – which would explain why many villages have no streetlights at all. In any case it has been a series of difficult problems which stem largely from inadequate consultation and a failure by the contractors to take into account anything said to them by Parish Council and residents. Be warned!