TfBs Street lighting team – ready for the longer nights

Coldharbour Way, Aylesbury, LED lighting

British Summer Time officially ends on Sunday morning, (27th October 19), with the return of darker shorter days and longer nights. So what has the street lighting team at Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) been doing this year in preparation?

Two distinct areas of work have been taking place alongside the normal maintenance operations:

  • LED street lighting replacement and
  • Lamp column replacement programme.

LED technology

Buckinghamshire County Council successfully bid for ‘SALIX’ funding to enable the installation of even more energy saving lighting LED lighting across the County. This will see the replacement of 2443 lanterns in residential areas. Work commenced in late July and will be completed by the end of October.

Over the previous 2 years, 14,000 lanterns were replaced with LEDs – an energy saving of 1.4M kW/h, which helps to counter increasing energy prices, as well as reducing carbon emissions. The additional replacements will give a further 650,000kW/h of energy savings.

By the end of the 2019/20 financial year, a massive 66% of the lighting stock will be LEDs, with an additional project taking place in early 2020 to replace a further 2500 lanterns.

Lamp column replacement

TfB teams have also been working tirelessly to replace age expired lamp columns. By the end of November, over 400, which have been identified upon inspection as age expired, will have been replaced.

Where columns are inspected and are found to have significant damage, it may be necessary to cut the column down to a stump for safety reasons. If this is the case, TfB will make every effort to replace these units as swiftly as possible. In addition to columns on the annual replacement programme, a constant rolling programme is in place to install new columns where they have been damaged, for example, in road traffic collisions. So far in 2019/20 over 140 such lighting columns have been replaced. An additional 40 are also due for replacement.

How to report a fault

The public is asked to report street lighting faults using . TfB does not maintain every streetlight in the County, however when trying to report a street lighting fault via fix my street, this will be made clear. It may be the responsibility of the Town or Parish Council in which case a link, which directs you to find owner is provided.

When the problem lies with the electricity supplier

Sometimes members of the public report failed lights to us that have stopped working due to an underground electrical supply fault. When this is the case, TfB is not able to repair the fault, because the cables are owned and maintained by the electricity companies for the area and only they are allowed to carry out repairs.  However, TfB works closely with all three electricity companies who have equipment within the County to try and get these repaired as quickly as possible, but these repairs can be complex in nature and take some time to fix. This is why, occasionally, a reported street light could be out of service for some time. When this occurs, new temporary signs will be fixed to the lighting column to alert the public that TfB is aware of the problem but that they are waiting for the electricity company to address the issue. This will reduce the need for the public to repeat reporting such faults.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Transport, Mark Shaw, went, with his deputy, Paul Irwin, to check on the progress of the LED replacement programme. Mark said “The team has been busy all year and I am impressed with the amount of LED lighting we now have across the County. This is the time of year that residents and motorists will most quickly notice if a light is out. I would urge the public to let our teams know by reporting faults on Fix my Street. Each column has an identifying number so reporting is easy”.

Salix Finance is an independent, publicly funded company that offers 100% interest free capital loans to the public sector to reduce their energy costs by enabling the installation of modern, energy efficient technologies and replacing dated, inefficient technologies. The Council repays the loan by using the energy savings made.