Street & traffic lights

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

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.

Dangerous issues:

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 to us by calling 0345 600 6400 to ensure that it’s dealt with quickly. 

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
Non-dangerous issues:

To report a non-dangerous problem to us for attention, please see below: 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 of the street light, please provide us with an address that the light is outside of or near to.
Timeframes:

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.

Where the fault is the responsibility of the regional electricity company, and may take a number of weeks to repair, updates will be provided on the Northumberland County Council website.

 

Lighting improvements

 

If you live in an area in which you have concerns with regard to the level of street lighting, please write to Gavin Barlow:

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

Via email:
gavin.barlow@northumberland.gov.uk
This section tells you how to report a fault for permanent traffic lights, and also how to apply for temporary traffic lights within Northumberland.

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 signals:

You need permission to place temporary traffic lights on any part of the highway. A ‘highway’ includes roads, footways and verges. Your utility/company must apply for this permission below: This application form should be completed and returned to the street works team at streetworks@northumberland.gov.uk. If you need any assistance, or have any questions about this, please call us on 0345 600 6400.

PLEASE NOTE: 
  • Permission is valid for the duration of the works.
  • A notice of five working days is required for all non-emergency applications.
  • There are no costs involved when applying for temporary traffic lights.

Requests for permanent traffic signal suspensions:

If you require permanent traffic signals to be suspended as part of your works, you will need to contact Highways Street Lighting. 

Please email highwaysstreetlighting@northumberland.gov.uk with any enquiries. For a request for a quotation, you will need to provide the following information:
  • Company name & address 
  • Location 
  • Suspend date & time 
  • Resume date & time 
  • On-site contact name and number 
  • A valid purchase order number 
Without the above information we are unable to process any request to carry out this work. 

A minimum of 5 working days notice is required.

The cost for a single suspension and resumption is £375. 
We’re modernising street lighting in Northumberland by investing £25 million in new technologies. Nearly 20,000 lampposts have been replaced, and all street lights will be fitted with new LED lights.

Work began in Spring 2015 on this ambitious £25 million project to modernise all street lights in Northumberland, and this work should be completed by the end of 2019.

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 new steel ones.

 

LED lighting

LED lights will reduce annual energy costs by more than 63% and 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 the ‘Invest to Save’ initiative, where the funding will be repaid within 25 years from the anticipated budget savings made by the reduction in energy and maintenance costs.
Please see below for our FAQs:

How many lights are there in Northumberland?
We currently maintain:
  • 46,531 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. This ensures that 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 old lighting, which doesn’t meet current lighting standards. Because of this, they will be replaced 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 also support methods of better crime detection. LED lights improve 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 us to give 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 the 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, and to ensure that there is a lesser impact upon the environment, 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