New lights are a shining example

Northumberland County Council are changing their street lights.
Northumberland County Council are changing their street lights.

An ambitious scheme to replace more than 40,000 streetlamps across Northumberland is now more than half complete.

Northumberland County Council is 22 months into a three-year project to replace the lights with more efficient LED versions.

The £23millionscheme aims to produce energy savings of around 64 per cent – £1.3million a year.

Around 24,000 new units have been installed, although due to the complex nature of replacing thousands of lights, engineers have been working on innovative solutions to overcome technical difficulties.

One example is the slipper columns which fit over the top of the stump of the old lamp-posts and are firmly concreted into the ground – saving time and costs by avoiding the need to change the power supply.

In Ashington, the contractor’s initial designs for the new LED streetlights were found to be inadequate and did not meet the required lighting levels.

Extra work has now been carried out and the council has been working with the contractor on further modifications and new designs.

Council leader Grant Davey said: “These lights have made a great improvement in many areas, improving both driver and pedestrian safety.

“The way major projects like this work means it is not as simple as doing every light in one town then moving to the next, it is often the case that teams will return to areas to complete the switchover once engineering solutions are found when issues emerge.”

“As we have progressed with the scheme we have come across issues with a number of types of posts and lights, including the need to improve existing or provide new power supply connections, which has meant we have had to leave these lights whilst completing the rest of the surrounding lights in an area.

“We appreciate this can be frustrating for residents who would like to see the scheme complete in their area, but we can assure people that we will be coming back to all these locations and that the vast majority of these issues now have solutions that we will be able to implement in the near future.

“Residents can be reassured we continue to take a robust approach to ensure the contractor meets their obligations to that we are doing everything we can to ensure this ambitious programme remains on track.”