£10m on new street lights?

OFFICERS at North Somerset Council want to invest more than £10.7million on replacing damaged street lights. Almost 10,000 lights across the district are in urgent need of replacing. North Somerset is considered to be a high risk area because it is near t

OFFICERS at North Somerset Council want to invest more than £10.7million on replacing damaged street lights.Almost 10,000 lights across the district are in urgent need of replacing.North Somerset is considered to be a high risk area because it is near the coast and is subjected to strong westerly winds. More than half of the council's 19,500 street lighting columns should have already been replaced because they have passed their life expectancy. The council has carried out tests on 724 concrete columns and found 30.8 per cent were structurally unsafe. More than 33 per cent of the steel street lights are also nearing or beyond their design life, with 10 columns on the A370 at Hewish, Cleeve and Backwell 'of immediate concern.'Shaun Chilcott, team leader for street lighting and traffic signals at North Somerset Council said that following the recent structural testing, officers had identified that many were 'corroded below ground level and could fail in high winds'.And during the high winds last month one five metre high structure could have killed a pedestrian when it fell across the pavement in Wesley Drive, Worle.In a report, which will go before the Environment Services Policy and Scrutiny Panel on Monday, he suggests investing this year's capital budget into a street light replacement programme, starting at Hewish and working towards Cleeve.Officers have also come up with a number of proposals to save energy, including using a remote system which will dim street lights between 12midnight and 5am. Light sensitive units would be installed on the top of street lights and turn them on and off when natural light reaches certain levels.The plans involve dimming lights in Herluin Way and Locking Road, from the Helicopter Museum to the M5 bridge.By switching off or dimming the lights on two of Weston's main roads the council estimates it could make a saving of more than £10,000 each year.However, there are fears the lack of street lighting will lead to more crimes on the streets.


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