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 over 50,000 streetlights, lit signs and traffic 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 these 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 – 3 or more lights in a row 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 streetlight, lit sign/bollard and location. 
  • If you cannot see the number of the streetlight, please provide us with an address that the light is outside of or near to. 

Usually a streetlight 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 several 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 about 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 
NE24 5TF 
Via email 

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 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 If you need any assistance, or have any questions about this, please call us on 0345 600 6400. 

  • 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 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.  


Over the last 9 years, the council have been modernising the street lighting in Northumberland, by investing £25 million in new technologies. This has allowed nearly 20,000 lampposts to be replaced, and all streetlights to be fitted with a new LED lantern.

 The LED lights have helped to reduce the annual street lighting energy costs by 64% and the cost of maintenance has also reduced, as less visits are required. 

 The project was funded by the ‘Invest to Save’ initiative, where the funding will be repaid over 25 years from the 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: 

  • 47,157 lampposts 
  • 2,698 illuminated traffic signs 
  • 1,188 traffic bollards 

What are the benefits? 
LED streetlights typically use around half the amount of energy used by existing streetlights 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 annually. 

What are the other councils in the North East doing? 
All councils in the North East have now invested in LED lighting, with Gateshead and Durham investing 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. 
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 dimming the LED lights between midnight and 6am. 
How can we let the council know our views? 
Contact the street lighting team by email at