Report reveals older street lights should have been replaced years ago

Torbay Weekly

More than half of the street light columns in Torbay should have been replaced years ago, a council report has found.

Best practice is to replace street light columns after 25 years.

However, more than 5,000 of the Bay’s 10,000 columns are older than that.

The council is worried that the old lights could injure people or damage vehicles and that it could be held liable.

Torbay Council replaced 210 of the columns in the last financial year, and expects at least another 200 to be replaced by the end of March 2022.

However even then, almost 2,000 columns will still be over a decade past their recommend replacement date.

A further 5,000 will be over five years past their replacement date.

It’s thought renewing 4,000 of the 7,000 oldest columns would cost around £4 million and at the current rate of replacement will take 20 years.

A report on the lights is to be discussed at the council’s cabinet meeting.

It follows the Lib Dem-Independent council’s decision to look at issues around street lighting after the murder of 33-year Sarah Everard in London in March.

The report also provides an update on the progress of installing LED lights, which began in 2014.

Older non-led lights are less energy-efficient and cost more to run.

Past Torbay administrations opted for ‘part night lighting’ where some of these expensive older lights were turned off for around five hours in the early hours of the morning to save money.

Almost 2,500 of 15,800 of the Bay’s lights are switched off for at least some of the night for budget reasons.

The hope is to eventually replace these old lights with LEDs which can be kept on all night and cost less too.

It is hoped this will improve safety while cutting carbon emissions.

SWISCo, a private company wholly owned by the council that handles waste, recycling, grounds maintenance and highways in the Torbay, will begin night inspections of lighting in the area’s parks.

The council says many lighting columns in its parks have now been fixed – apart from in Preston, where it has not yet been able to identify the reasons for faults.