Leaders admit failures to fix Shropshire streetlights within target times

A leader has admitted that Shropshire Council is missing its streetlight repair targets by a wide margin but more resources are being put into solving the issue.

Some 'outliers' have failed to be fixed in nine months, a meeting heard on Wednesday, where a councillor asked to be given the figures.

The cabinet meeting was told that a huge 7.25 per cent of Shropshire's street lighting stock currently have jobs raised against them for either repair or replacement.

Councillor Richard Marshall, the portfolio holder, said five day faults are currently taking 10-15 days, and 28 day jobs are taking up to 42 days. But he added that priority works will be dealt with within the agreement they have with contractors Kier.

Councillor Marshall said lamps in 60 per cent of the street lights are no longer made for environmental reasons.

This means when one of the older lanterns need fixing a new one is needed, which "places the job under a 28 day service level agreement".

Councillor Rosemary Dartnall (Lab, Bayston Hill, Column and Sutton) said: "Defective street lights in the triple division are numerous and longstanding.

"Lights remain out for weeks, even months, on end. Some streets have five or six lamps not working."

She added that problems include faulty bulbs, replacement units needed or even dismembered columns, some of which have been dismantled for six months and more.

"In asking colleagues, it’s clear this is not just a Shrewsbury issue but one that applies across Shropshire – perhaps the 2022-23 equivalent of the pothole plague, which seems now to be under control with good progress being made," she said.

"Officers have told me that the target for repair is five days, but that at present this may reach 15 days due to wider winter pressures. However, these time scales bear no resemblance to the reality, which is particularly felt by elderly residents in the dark midwinter."

Councillor Marshall said Kier have brought in additional sub-contractors resources Altitude and ETL.

He said: "They have been engaged to address the current backlogs to improve the Street lighting service.

"In addition the delayed Salix LED lantern replacement programme will commence in February replacing all of the remaining antiquated lighting with new LED lanterns addressing the long term lantern failure issues."

Councillor Marshall (Con, Worfield) said the council is aware of backlogs stretching to months, including issues in his own division.

"It is at the fore of our minds - be reassured we have our eye on addressing this backlog."

He said he would provide Councillor Dartnell with figures for long term broken streetlights.

Councillor Marshall added that the council had seen an "improvement" in fixing potholes after more resources were brought to bear on the issue and he expected the same would happen with streetlights.

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