Who Looks After Our Street Lights?

Description of the services street lighting companies provide for local authorities and others such as businesses and property owners responsible for street lighting.

Public lighting requires professional maintaining, replacing and repair

Many take street lighting for granted and, apart from the occasional flickering sodium light that needs replacement, may not imagine there’s much looking after required. In reality, considerable maintenance is involved in ensuring street lighting stays safe and effective.

Who is responsible for street lighting upkeep?

In general a local authority is responsible for the installation, maintenance and replacement of street and other public lighting such as on roads and motorways in the region they have jurisdiction over.

Street and other lighting in areas such as retail parks, business premises and leisure areas is the responsibility of the owner. So in the case of a retail park with several units then it’s likely the responsibility of the landlord via their property management company to ensure public lighting – such as in the car parks – is working properly and safely.

Who do they use to install and maintain lighting?

A local authority, private company or individual responsible for a lit area would enlist the services of a specialist street lighting maintenance company.

These experts can handle the entire range of street lighting tasks from initial planning of an installation to seeing the entire project through to completion.

The street lighting company would also maintain the lighting and infrastructure and organise regular testing to ensure it continues to operate safely and efficiently.

Specialist work

Installation – providing new street lighting from scratch is a major job as often underground power cabling has to be installed entailing trenching and ducting work. Next is the siting of lighting columns and finally the installation and full testing of the lights themselves.

Replacement – due to the desire for improving efficiency and saving energy, LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting is replacing the older sodium lighting used for many years, so many local authorities such as this one have replaced many thousands of the older lights with LED and there are many more set to follow.

This will be keeping street lighting companies busy for some while as the savings in using LED are huge. There’s also the promise of being able to control them further in conjunction with ‘smart’ technology so they switch on and off when required and dim when appropriate so saving even more energy.

Maintenance – another benefit of the newer LED lighting is in reduced maintenance as they’re more durable, and each LED light lasts much longer than its sodium counterpart.

In the meantime, street lighting requires maintenance on a regular basis, and street lighting companies offer this usually on a contract basis. For a set sum per month or year, they’ll attend to maintenance tasks such as repair and replacement.

Even replacing a lamp is an extensive job usually requiring lifting equipment to access the lamp itself, and other tasks such as repairing cable joins involves digging and can be fairly labour intensive.

Testing, testing

Testing lighting is important, and is expected of public lighting every six years to ensure its safety and efficiency. Over time electrics can deteriorate and columns supporting lights can corrode, so inspection and testing is mandatory; street lighting companies often offer this as part of their service.