Street light replacement programme - frequently asked questions
Who will be managing the new contract?
The new contractor is Skanska Infrastructure Services. They will operate in Croydon and Lewisham as Croydon and Lewisham Lighting Services Ltd.
How many street lights are being replaced?
In the first five years of the 25-year contract all of the council's 42,000 lights and 8,000 signs will be upgraded. 38,000 will have both the column and the lantern replaced. 4,000 will have just the lantern replaced or converted.
This is because the column will have been replaced recently, generally as a result of traffic accidents or local improvement works. All of the signs will be replaced on a scheme by scheme, road by road basis.
How will the contract be financed?
The project is being part-financed via a PFI (Private Finance Initiative) grant from central government. The PFI grant covers all of the costs associated with the equipment (the columns, lights and signs) and its installation (the ground works, connection of the new lights to the electricity mains, removal of the old columns, re-instating the pavements etc).
Without the PFI grant, the councils would be unable to afford to replace the street lights.
What is a PFI?
A private company (or group of companies known as a consortium) provide the financial investment to fund the building or installation of new equipment.
Typically this cost will be incurred by them over a period of three to ten years. The public sector organisation then pays an annual fee to the consortium for use of the equipment over a much longer period (for example 25 years).
In the case of street lighting in Croydon and Lewisham, we can enjoy the benefits of brand new equipment installed over a short period of time.
Having received the PFI grant, the cost to the council per annum is slightly less than it would have been to simply provide maintenance of the existing equipment - a cost which would have been likely to increase as more and more equipment bypassed its useful service and required replacing.
When and where will the work start?
The work began in New Addington in August 2011. Work will progress on a street-by-street, ward-by-ward basis, see the map below.
Will the lighting columns be going back in the same place or will they be repositioned?
In many circumstances the roads undergo a complete re-design to conform to the current British standards and therefore the positions of the columns must be changed. It is not always possible to integrate the existing column positions in the new design layout.
The new design parameters agreed by the council indicates that where possible we are to light the footpaths in addition to the carriageway, this means that the majority of the lighting columns where possible shall be positioned at the back of the footpath.
How will I be notified of what is happening in my area?
Residents will receive a letter before the work is scheduled to be undertaken advising them of the programme.
When the street light columns are removed and replaced, what will happen to the old equipment?
All lighting equipment that is removed will be dismantled and, where possible, recycled.
Will there be any disruption?
42,000 lights are being replaced in five years in every highway-maintained street in Lewisham and Croydon. This is will cause some disruption but we will endeavour to keep to a minimum. Wherever possible Skanska will make sure that the programme works alongside other utilities working on the highways.
What types of lighting will be used?
The majority of the lighting across the boroughs is currently yellow/orange. The new lighting will be white and will give clearer illumination at night. Lights on heavy traffic roads will remain yellow/orange.
How does the remote control of the lights work?
Equipment on each of the columns will communicate via mobile phone technology to a central computer. The computer will monitor equipment performance and energy use and can help to automatically identify faults.
Lights will no longer rely on the photo-cell to detect local light conditions or the need to physically visit the site and turn a light off.
Will there be any impact on road safety?
The white lighting delivers a more natural light than the existing yellow/orange lighting. This will help people feel safer at night on the streets, and help to improve road safety.
Will footpaths still be lit?
Footpaths that are currently lit will have their existing lighting replaced.
How easy are the new lights to repair?
Broken and faulty lights will be automatically reported via the remote control system once it has been installed in a road.
This will mean that they will be repaired more quickly and efficiently providing consistent and reliable lighting for residents, 98% of the streetlights will always be working across both boroughs.
What will the time frame be for repairs?
Most faults will be repaired within two working days of being reported, however, visit our maintenance and repairs page for further information.
If an existing column is damaged but is outside one of the areas where new columns are being introduced, will it be repaired?
Yes, all equipment including existing equipment will be maintained in the same way and to the same set of standards as listed in the above question.
Damaged, knocked down or broken lights will be replaced.
There will be a period of transition as outstanding work is completed and lighting levels improve (with more lights working).
There was a light in my road which is not working, what shall I do?
You can report faults with street and sign lighting online or by calling 0800 028 5986.