Over 600 street lights could be handed back to Northampton so county council can save on electricity bill

Over 600 street lights will be handed back to the borough council.
Over 600 street lights will be handed back to the borough council.

The county council is handing back over 600 street lights to Northampton Borough Council in a bid to save £70,000 a year.

In a recent audit, Northamptonshire County Council found they have been paying the electricity bill for 607 street lights not on their land or owned by them for over 20 years.

Any street lights not accepted back by Northampton Borough Council will be pulled up at the end of September.

A report prepared ahead of a Northampton Borough Council cabinet meeting on Wednesday (September 13) says: "On a case by case basis, [the council] may decide not to accept certain street lights within the transfer.

"The authority will need to determine any lights that will not be accepted by the deadline. The forthcoming condition survey and options report may recommend further lights are removed. This will be at the cost of [the borough council]."

It comes amid reports that the county council will have to have made £500million worth of cuts to balance the books by 2021.

The report recommends that the borough council accepts an as-of-yet undecided number of the lights - while finding up to £70,000 of extra funding in the budget to fund them.

Additionally, another £54,000 would be needed to survey lights at handover that have not had a recent survey in the last five years, at a cost of £90 per column.

However, any light found in the survey that needs will replacing will cost £1,200 per column - and a worst-case scenario of up to £740,000 to replace all the lights.

Each light costs between £30 and £50 in electricity per year, and around £70 in maintenance costs.

If the council does not accept the handover, all 607 lights would have to be removed, which the report warns "may result in tenants or visitors not feeling safe" in housing areas and parks.