Street & traffic lights

Street & traffic lights

This page provides information on street and traffic lights in Northumberland, as well as the Lighting Northumberland scheme.

Street lights

Here you will find information about the maintenance of existing street lighting and signs, how to report a fault and how to request improvements to street lighting.

Street lighting, illuminated signs and illuminated bollards
Northumberland County Council is responsible for the maintenance of almost 50,000 street lights, lit signs and lit bollards.

Any issue deemed to pose an immediate danger to the public will be attended within two hours. If you think a situation fits this criteria, it should be reported by phone to ensure it’s dealt with quickly. 
  • Please contact us here and the situation will be dealt with. Our lines are available 24 hours.
Some issues which are considered urgent are:
  • group outage - a number of lights in a row are out
  • door off - access panel to lighting unit removed
  • vehicular impact - damage to lighting unit by a vehicle
  • bowl/lantern hanging - anything hanging from a lighting unit
  • cable damage - damage to underground supply network caused by excavation
  • traffic signal failure - any fault with traffic signals
If you are concerned about any issue in relation to lighting, signs or bollards and it is not listed above, please contact us here by telephone and our advisor will deal with the issue accordingly.

To report a non-dangerous problem to us for attention, fill out a report a broken streetlight online here or you can contact us here

When reporting a non-dangerous fault, please provide:
  • the nature of the fault 
  • the number of the street light, lit sign/bollard and location
If you cannot see the number, then an address the light is outside of or near to would help identify the fault.

Usually a street light or lit sign/bollard will be attended within four working days. If we can’t repair the light on our first visit, arrangements will be made for further works to be carried out either by ourselves or the regional electricity company.
Lighting improvements
Lighting improvements
If you live in an area which you have concerns about with regard to the level of street lighting, please write to:

Gavin Barlow
Street Lighting & Electrical Team
Northumberland County Council
Cowley Road
Blyth
Northumberland
NE24 5TF

Traffic lights

This section tells you how to report a fault on permanent traffic signals within Northumberland.

Maintenance of permanent traffic signals
Northumberland County Council are responsible for traffic signals from major junctions to pedestrian crossings across the county.

The street lighting and electrical team carry out minor maintenance within Northumberland, with specialist contractors carrying out any additional works.

If you wish to report a problem with permanent traffic signals please contact us on 0345 600 6400  
Temporary traffic light form
You need permission to place temporary traffic lights on any part of the highway. A ‘highway’ includes the road, footways and verges.

Permission is valid for the duration of the works.
Are there any rules?
If work is within two hours, i.e. immediate/emergency, then the form must be forwarded to us straight away.

If the work is minor, the form should be forwarded seven working days before work starts.

If the work is major (more than 10 working days) we need the form 28 days before work starts.
Cost
There are no costs involved when applying for temporary traffic lights.
Apply for permission
It is the responsibility of the utility/company to apply for permission. The application form should be completed and returned to the street works team. Allow at least three to five working days for permission to be granted.
Contact details
Streetworks

Lighting Northumberland

We’re modernising street lighting in Northumberland by investing £25 million in new technologies. Nearly 17,000 lampposts will be replaced and all street lights will be fitted with new LED lights.

Work began this spring on an ambitious £25 million project to modernise all street lights in Northumberland during the next three years.

The council’s appointed contractor, Galliford Try, will be replacing about 29,000 lights with eco-friendly lighting emitting diode (LED) technology. Old concrete and steel columns will also be replaced by steel ones.

Benefits of LED lighting
LED lights will reduce energy costs by more than 60% and ultimately save about £300,000 per year. The cost of maintenance should also decrease by 60%.

The fittings will emit a whiter light, making street lighting appear brighter.

The project is being funded by an Invest to Save initiative, where the funding will be repaid within 25 years from the anticipated budget savings of about £300,000 a year.
Your questions answered
When is this work going to take place?
Work started in March 2015 in the southeast of the county and will continue for three years.

How much notice will I receive if works are to be carried out in my street?
You will receive a reminder postcard a couple of weeks before work begins. Look out for the notification boards placed around lighting columns to let you know our contractor will begin work in your area shortly.

How long will the workmen be in my road?
For a straightforward replacement of lanterns, the works should take about 20 minutes per street light to complete. Occasionally the electricity supply to the street light will need to be disconnected and reconnected, which will take longer.

Please be reassured the old street light will remain in place and lit until the electricity supply can be switched across to the new LED light.

Will the workmen require access to my property?
Our operatives do not require access to you property. Anybody claiming to need access could be a bogus caller.

Will I be able to park in the street?
We will try to keep as much parking space available as possible, allowing room for the workmen to dig and install the new light.

How many lights are there in Northumberland?
We currently maintain:
  • 46,531 street lighting columns (or lampposts)
  • 2,625 illuminated traffic signs
  • 1,360 illuminated bollards
What is the new technology?
LEDs give the ability to vary lighting levels to control energy consumption.

What are the benefits?
LED street lights typically use around half the amount of energy used by existing street lights in Northumberland. With the new technology lasting longer, there will only be minimal maintenance required.

How much money and carbon will we save?
On completion, and after dealing with the loan repayment, it is hoped we will save about £300,000 per year. The carbon footprint of the street lighting stock will reduce by more than 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

Will the lampposts be painted?
Our plan is to seek views on the various colours to be used in and around town centres and areas of special interest. This may involve additional costs to the relevant town or parish council.

What are the other councils in the North East doing?
All councils in the North East are carrying out trials of LED lights and Gateshead and Durham are investing in the new technology in a similar manner to us.

My street seems darker since the fitting of the LED lights. Why is this?
When lighting with white lights, the lighting levels need to be slightly reduced to prevent glare or dazzle. The LED lights are also manufactured and fitted to help reduce light pollution, ensuring footpaths and roads are well lit but avoiding an intrusion of light into people’s homes and gardens.

The sole function of the street lighting is to light the highway to ensure the council meets its duty of care to road and footpath users.

My street seems to be more brightly lit. Why is this?
Some streets in Northumberland still have the old lighting type, which doesn’t meet current lighting standards. Because of this, they require replacing to bring them up to recommended standards.

The LED lighting project will do this and increase light levels while still providing energy savings.

How will the new lights affect street safety?
LED lights will help support better crime detection as it improves images captured at night from CCTV, as well as allowing clothing colours and car registration numbers to be more easily identified. This will make our streets safer and help in giving a more accurate description to police.

If the council wants to save money, why doesn’t it look at turning the lights down during the night when there are fewer people and vehicles around?
The new LED lights will be fitted with technology that enables the council to ‘dim’ street lighting at certain times. Many local authorities now use this method or even ‘part-night lighting,’ where they turn lights off on certain roads between midnight and 6am.

In Northumberland, we want to ensure roads remain lit at all times. However, in order to ensure maximum savings, we will be looking at dimming the LED lights between midnight and 6am.

How can we let the council know our views on the project?
Contacting the Business Support Officer, Lynsey Sawyer, on 01670 624074 or by email at lynsey.sawyer@northumberland.gov.uk

How do I let the council know what I thought of the work once it is finished?
You will receive a card though your letterbox, asking you to feedback any comments – positive or negative - about how the work was carried out in your street.
Contacting the Business Support Officer, Lynsey Sawyer, on 01670 624074 or by email at lynsey.sawyer@northumberland.gov.uk