Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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View Cabinet Decision Record

Cabinet Decision: 6th October 2016
Title of Item/Report
Street Lighting Policy
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to a report on the street lights managed and maintained that was in excess of 27,000 street lights and over 2,400 illuminated signs and bollards. The policy detailed how Stockton Borough Council (SBC), as responsible local Highway Authority would provide and maintain Street Lighting on the adopted highway subject to available funding.

The Councils vision was of a Borough that was more confident, more vibrant and more successful than ever before. A place where people can see that the Councils drive, integrity and imagination had delivered genuine improvements and exceptional value for money and was a place that every single one of us was proud of. Street lighting plays a vital part in supporting the ‘key’ aims of the vision by helping to provide safer communities, supporting regeneration, helping to keep Stockton moving, tackling the impact of climate change and being a key factor in improving the environment.

There was no legal obligation for local Highway Authorities to provide Street Lighting however, Section 97 of the Highways Act 1980 gives highway authorities powers to do so should it wish to in carrying out its duty of care for all road users of the public highway.

Where street lighting was provided on the highway the Council was then required by the Highways Act to keep it in a safe condition under Section 41 to maintain the highway free of danger for all road users. Highways England was the Highway Authority for street lighting on Trunk Roads (for example A19 and A66) and Motorways and had its own policies for the design, provision and maintenance of those installations.

To ensure that the Council have a quality street lighting asset throughout the Borough asset management principles would be embedded in the maintenance programme ensuring that informed long-term decisions were made about investment and maintenance funding, ensuring a more effective use of resources, delivering stakeholder needs and ensuring the integrity of the highway infrastructure.

The need for street lighting varied by location although it was generally accepted that urban and residential areas should be provided with street lighting, however the level and standard of lighting provided would be dependent on a number of variables. For example, town and large urban areas may have higher crime rates, significant traffic movements and may benefit from the provision of a high level of street lighting when compared to some rural areas.

The largest saving the Council can make within street lighting was through reducing the energy consumption associated with street lights and other illuminated highway infrastructure. It was the potential energy saving that resulted in the Council committing significant financial resource to commence work on an ‘Invest to Save’ project which would see the entire Borough’s lantern stock replaced by using a Light Emitting Diode (LED) lantern. This method of lighting produces white light at various intensities at very low wattage levels thus significantly reducing the amount of energy consumption associated with street lighting. Another financial benefit of introducing LED type lanterns was that they were much less prone to maintenance issues, which therefore offers a further financial benefit. All the lanterns that had been utilised as part of this project are fitted with technology that will enable dimming to be considered in the future to realise further savings if required.

All street lighting designs whether part of the mass replacement scheme or associated with new developments shall comply with the requirements set out in the current edition of the Street Lighting Design Guide and Specification to ensure that wherever practicable the Councils desired lighting level was achieved and met the appropriate British Standard.

There were several different types of defects which could affect street lighting and those which were within the control of the Council were generally rectified within timescales that have been previously agreed and were listed in their entirety within the Street Lighting Policy. However, street lighting and illuminated signs could also rely on electrical supplies from the Distribution Network Operator (DNO), with the provider for Stockton being Northern Power Grid (NPG). If defects occur on the DNO network that affect street lighting then these problems were outside the control of the Council to resolve and although the electrical providers had to adhere to statutory performance targets determined by the electricity industry regulator these targets were occasionally not always met, particularly on the LED mass replacement scheme where additional complexities arise due to contractor and sub-contractor involvement.

The Council had committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations by 21% on 2014/15 levels by March 2020 and reduce total emissions from Stockton Borough by 18% on 2013 levels by 2020. Street lighting could play a significant part in assisting in achieving these targets as LED lighting contains minimal toxic materials and was 100% recyclable. The long operational life time span also means that one LED light bulb could save material and production of several other alternative methods helping contribute towards a green future.

New developments would generally have highways that would ultimately be adopted and subsequently maintained at public expense by the Council under Section 38 of the Highway Act 1980 and the Council would require developers to follow this policy document should they wish the Council to adopt street lighting. In addition the Councils Design Guide and Specification Street Lighting Section would also provide developers with all the details necessary to enable a design to be progressed that encompasses the principals of our street lighting vision for the future.

Requests for additional street lighting would be considered using a number of different variables and a risk based approach that balanced the risks presented against the costs associated with implementing a new street lighting scheme.


1. The Street Lighting Policy be approved.

2. The benefits of implementing a formal Street Lighting Policy be noted.
Reasons for the Decision
Adopting a formal street lighting policy would ensure that the funding which was allocated for street lighting was invested as efficiently and effectively directed at those schemes which would provide the greatest improvement to the community in general.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Details of any Dispensations
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Midnight, 14th October 2016

Date of Publication: 10 October 2016

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