04 October 2011

A PFI scheme which will see Northamptonshire County Council’s lighting stock replaced within five years started on Monday, October 3 with contractor Balfour Beatty taking over responsibility for the authority’s street lighting, illuminated signs and bollards.

Under the scheme the new street lights would use 40 per cent less energy on a like-for-like basis when compared with the existing stock and would also offer a uniform, white light rather than the patchy orange glow of ‘traditional’ lights.

The scheme will allow contractor Balfour Beatty to replace the lamp units and electronics of all streetlights and allow for the replacement of the lighting columns where necessary.

The initial stages of the contract will see preparation work carried out including final approval of the design with the start of the replacement programme scheduled for November.

The roll-out of the replacement programme will be a dynamic process to take into account and accommodate changes across the county over the next five years.

In deciding where the replacements will take place, a number of factors will be taken into consideration, including:

  • Where major works are taking place, including utility works
  • Where there are high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Where there are high accident rates
  • Where major events are taking place
  • Where there are sawn off or damaged columns

Once the replacement operation is in full swing it is anticipated that as many as 300 columns will be removed and then replaced with the new lighting design each week.

The first streets to experience the new lighting will be in Corby in Tanfields Grove, where there are a number of sawn off column stumps and in Copenhagen Road, which has a number of relatively new columns and therefore only require the replacement of the electronics.

This should take place in November with the replacement programme then moving on to locations throughout the country.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for infrastructure and public protection, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve arrived at this date and we’re entering into this very exciting contract which will see radical changes to the street lighting across the county.

“There are advantages with the new technology being able to provide greater flexibility and in an age where consideration of the environment is increasingly important, there will be real benefits with carbon reduction targets.

“People will also see a real difference in the quality of the lighting and the technology is such now that light pollution is greatly diminished.

“The county council will manage and monitor the contract and we will be working with Balfour Beatty to make sure that the planned works meet the council’s approval.”

Pat Walsh, general manager for Balfour Beatty, said: “We are pleased to support the county council in improving the environment for those who live, work and travel in Northamptonshire.”

In June the county council’s cabinet approved the PFI scheme and in July it received final approval from the Department for Transport.

The contract will provide the maintenance of the street lights for a 25 year period and current technology also means that many faults can be detected remotely, removing the need for manual patrols.

Under the new arrangement people should contact Balfour Beatty’s customer service team by calling 0800 0850 257 or emailing enquiries@lightingnorthamptonshire.com.