Transport for Buckinghamshire's (TfB) Street Lighting Team looks after the 29,000 streetlights and 6,000 illuminated bollards we rely on across the county to illuminate our roads and pathways by night.
This is an update on their current work.
LED Replacement Programme
Over the course of 2018/19, the Street Lighting Team has been replacing 3,295 'old style' lanterns with LED equipment. These old style lanterns have an orange light, whilst the new lanterns produce a white light. The programme will be complete by the end of March 2019.
However, a small number of the old style lanterns will temporarily remain due to issues such as the need for the entire column to be changed or the column base being sited on private land.
In addition to this, the team has also completely replaced 344 lanterns which were mounted on wooden electricity poles.
Whilst you can report street lights that are damaged or broken on Fix My Street, TfB also has a Night Scouting programme. Members of the Street Lighting Team check for outages along the strategic routes across the county, making note of lights that need any work doing to them. Six routes are covered over a three month period, and the scouting occurs on a quarterly basis.
However, if you do spot a damaged or broken street light, please do report it using Fix My Street (https://www.fixmystreet.buckscc.gov.uk/).
Use the search bar to find the road the street light is on, use the marker to pinpoint the area it is in and select the number of the street light that you are reporting. This should be used for faults that do not present an immediate risk, for example, street lights that aren’t working. In an emergency, please call 01296 382416 to report.
TfB’s Street Lighting Team has been working with manufacturing partners NAL Ltd and Traffic Management Products (TMP) to roll out a new and innovative bollard programme across the county, and have installed over 100 bollards to date. These new bollards are solar powered and have a number of benefits, including reduced energy costs and no need of underground cables, meaning they cannot be affected by power outages or damaged cables.
Another advantage of these new bollards is that they are also easier to repair – the solar powered bollards use socket mounted equipment. Currently, if a bollard is damaged or broken, it can be complicated to repair or replace as there has to be traffic management, sometimes even a road closure. However, if one of the new style bollards is damaged or needs replacing, the equipment can be changed quickly and easily. It also removes the possibility of live wires being exposed in the event of a road traffic collision.
Sometimes the problem lies with the electricity supplier
Sometimes members of the public report failed lights to us that have stopped working due to an underground electricity supply fault. If this is the case, TfB is not able to repair the fault, because the cables are owned and maintained by the electricity companies for the area, and only they are allowed to carry out repairs to their networks.
TfB works closely with the three electricity companies who have equipment within the county to resolve these issues when they’re discovered, but the repairs can take some time and be complex in nature. This is why there can sometimes be a delay in repairing a reported failed light.
Whose light is it?
The County Council are not the only ones who maintain lights within the county. Some are maintained by parish and town councils, district councils, or housing associations, and others are on privately-maintained roads. In those cases TfB will advise who can help with repairs.
Only County Council lights currently appear on the Fix My Street website - if there is no light option available on the map for the location that you are trying to report, then the light will not be ours. However, we are working with the other organisations to allow us to show their assets on our map, so that the system will then tell you who owns or maintains the light if it is not ours.
Note however that you cannot report failed lights that are privately owned, for example in gardens, on driveways or lighting commercial premises. You'll need to contact the landowner.
Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member Mark Shaw said:
"The Street Lighting Team has been working incredibly hard on several programmes which will be so beneficial to the county when they’re complete. I understand the public’s frustration when it comes to broken lights but we work very closely with the electricity companies to make sure any issues can be resolved as soon as possible. I’m impressed with the work I’ve seen from the Street Lighting Team in the last year and know the public will reap the benefits of this."
New technology means you can now let your fingers do the walking as the County Council launches a brand new online tool to report damage and obstructions on Buckinghamshire's 2,000 miles of public footpaths, bridleways and byways.
And a few taps on your smartphone or computer is all it takes to log a problem on the new CAMs (Countryside Access Management) system. Walkers and horse riders can report items like broken stiles, overgrown vegetation or fallen trees, damaged bridges or path surfaces or even damaged or missing signposts and waymarks. Reports received can then be prioritised and dealt with as quickly as possible.
Not only will the system provide feedback on progress to the customer, it will also say if the problem has already been reported. The system also allows volunteers to sign up to help deal with reported problems.
Bill Chapple OBE, Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment, said it was all part of a drive to get defects and damage sorted out so people can make full use of the County's rights of way.
"With such an extensive network of paths, bridleways and byways, this is probably the quickest way to let us know about issues. With each path number logged on the system, it's easy for people to drop an electronic marker pin by the location of the problem on the detailed maps provided. We can then take it from there and sort things out.
"We already have our Fix my Street service for issues on roads and pavements, so its great that we have added this bespoke system for all our rights of way," Bill added. "We pride ourselves on the quality and usability of our entire network, and this exciting addition will make sure we can get reported problems dealt with as quickly as possible."
The introduction of the new facility followed feedback from both the Buckinghamshire Local Access Forum and the Bucks Rights of Way Liaison Group who both suggested keeping customers more up-to-date and informed about progress with rectifying problems.
The new reporting tool is available by clicking on: https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/environment/public-rights-of-way/report-a-rights-of-way-issue/ or visit www.buckscc.gov.uk and search 'rights of way'. To report an issue, you will need to log in and then select the 'Report an issue' menu item. If it is your first time, you will need to register.
On April 1 summer opening times come to Buckinghamshire's household recycling centres, with closing time moving from 4pm to 6pm on every day they are open. The opening time stays the same at 9am.
But this year, a range of other changes are also taking place following a decision made by the County Council's Cabinet on 7 January:
- Bledlow Household Recycling Centre will close permanently. Burnham Household Recycling Centre is scheduled to close in September, but this may be deferred if the other cost-saving measures are shown to be effective enough.
- Chesham, Burnham and Aylesbury (Rabans Lane) sites will be closed every Wednesday and Thursday.
- A charge will be made for all 'non-household' waste brought to the site. This is generally material generated by construction, renovation, demolition and landscaping work, which the Council is not legally required to accept as part of its service.
County Council Cabinet Member for Planning & Environment Bill Chapple OBE said: "Although none of the Cabinet wanted to make changes to this very popular service, it remains our responsibility to make these hard decisions on how the Council can continue to provide the essential services on which many of our more vulnerable people rely.
"The fact is that if we didn't bring in charges for non-household waste I would be looking at permanent closure of further household recycling centres, which is not an option I wanted to take."
"As things are, I'm confident that our household recycling centres will continue to offer an excellent service, and we're trying our best to ensure that the changeover doesn't cause any disruption. However, I would ask people to be patient while the changes are implemented and, as always, check the recycling centre webcams on our web pages before setting out at times such as sunny weekends which are likely to be busy."
Find out more about the changes at www.buckscc.gov.uk/hrc
Check the recycling centre webcams at www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/waste-and-recycling/household-recycling-centres
Use the calendar or list of months to view entries made on those dates.