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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Huge bill to replace street lights being removed by Electricity North West

Council chiefs face a near £2 million bill to replace street lights being taken down by a power firm.

Electricity North West is removing all street lights and other items it does not own from its equipment over the next 25 years.

The move follows the death of one of the company’s workers on a piece of equipment mounted on a power supply pole – prompting them to rule that lights on the masts cannot remain.

Allerdale is the latest district council in north and west Cumbria to examine what kind of replacement bill that could leave them with.

The authority maintains 2,000 street lights in places including Workington, Cockermouth, Maryport, Keswick, Wigton and Aspatiral – 900 of which are on Electricity North West poles.

Cumbria County Council also has lights on poles owned by the firm but it is not known how many there are in Allerdale.

Electricity North West has offered £87,000 during the first phase of light removals to help provide new lights.

About 142 are due to be removed in this phase.

Allerdale Council’s community overview and scrutiny committee heard that each light would cost between £2,200 and £2,550 to replace with a new light on a lamppost.

Replacing the 96 lights planned for the first phase would cost at least £211,200.

The cost of replacing all 900 Allerdale council lights would be at least £1,980,000.

Under current plans the council will not automatically fund replacement lights.

The council is in talks with parish councils about which lights in their areas are deemed necessary and has offered to project manage their installation, subject to a fee.

In Eden, a 10-year plan to tackle footway lighting issues in response to the Electricity North West move has already been agreed.

But the scheme does mean hundreds of lights will eventually be lost because they no longer meet the most current standards.

There are currently 1,582 footway lights in Eden, 681 of which are situated on telegraph poles.

A new criteria means there will now be at least 603 of those lights retained.

Work to determine the final number is continuing.

Another 815 lights that do not meet the council’s new criteria will continue to be maintained by the authority until they need replacing, when they will be removed unless they are adopted by groups such as parish councils.

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