With dark evenings and mornings, residents have been reporting faulty streetlights to Shropshire Council. Last Wednesday’s cabinet was told 7.25% of the council’s 20,000 streetlights currently have faults (around 1,450 lights). A faulty lamp should be repaired or replaced within five working days but the current delays mean it is taking 10 to 15 days to get the light back on. Some jobs are scheduled for work within 28 days, for example when the light standard has to be replaced or when an LED light is installed for the first time. These jobs are taking are taking up to 42 days. Many jobs seem to be taking even longer than this.
The cabinet was told that 60% of the council’s streetlights still use sodium lamps, which give the familiar orange glow. It is no longer possible to get replacement bulbs for these and all repairs must install LED lighting.
LED lighting uses around 70% less energy than sodium lamps. Even before the increases in electricity prices, the saving in energy bills were sufficient to repay any loan for the work.
However, the Conservatives on Shropshire Council were reluctant to convert streetlights from sodium to LED. In 2014, they unanimously voted to reject a Liberal Democrat proposal to convert 7,500 lamps within three years. The then council leader, Peter Nutting, said “it was too expensive” and would not even consider a report going to cabinet on the options and costs. The decision was despite the Conservatives knowing that sodium lamps would no longer be available after 2015.
It was only in 2022 that the Conservatives had a change of heart and announced they were at last were going to convert the remaining 12,500 streetlights to LED. They said it would save £1 million in repairs and energy bills and almost 7,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. However, the start of the programme has been delayed until next month. The plan was to complete the conversion by March 2025 but that has now been brought forward by a year.
The six year delay between the Lib Dem proposal and the council agreeing to upgrade all streetlights means that the lights are going out at a quicker rate than before. The result is that the highways teams employed by Kier are stretched to replace lights. Kier has now brought in an extra contractor to clear the backlog.
You can report out of action lights through Fix My Street.