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Structural testing of street lights gets under way in Buckinghamshire

| December 3, 2016
Lamp column showing corrosion.

Lamp column showing corrosion.

Transport for Buckinghamshire is carrying out a structural testing programme on all street lighting columns that are more than 25 years old.

To ensure the safety of all the county’s street lights, the programme assesses the electrical elements as well as the structural condition of the street light columns.

2016 is the fourth year of a six year plan to look at the entire network of street lights in Buckinghamshire. This year the programme is covering the Aylesbury area.

The testing is carried out by specialists who use an ultrasound test to detect damage and corrosion to the base of each column. which is the area most vulnerable due to rain, salt and other elements that reduce the serviceable life of all street lighting columns.

Once the column is tested the results show to what degree the steel has corroded and is given one of four grades :

  • Green : The test has confirmed the column is in perfect condition and can be given a six-year guarantee.
  • Low amber : The test has detected slight corrosion and will require a retest within the next three years.
  • High amber : The test has detected advanced stages of corrosion and the column is recommended for replacement within the next 18 months.
  • Red : The test has shown that this column has suffered heavy corrosion and needs to be taken out of service as soon as possible. These columns are cut down immediately.

Once all columns in the current programme have been tested the results are assessed and a column replacement programme is drawn up.

Lamp column showing corrosion.

Lamp column showing corrosion.

Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport said, ‘Our testing and replacement programme gives us a really clear view of the condition of our network of street lights. This means we can effectively plan ahead and schedule a successful and realistic replacement programme.

I’m really pleased to see the team pushing ahead with using efficient and cost effective LED technology as well – a vast improvement.

Replacing the traditional lamps with LED versions is a real step forward. LED lamps last around three times as long and give a much ‘truer’ light in the dark. This helps to create a clearer view of the road, assisting with sight lines in the darker, colder months.

The new LED lanterns also help reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. They dim to 50% after 10.00pm and back up to full power at 6.00am reducing energy usage further.

LED and traditional street lights compared.

LED and traditional street lights compared.

The testing programme is now under way and due to be completed by the end of March 2017. The results will be assessed and a programme put together to replace the necessary columns. Column replacements will start late July 2017.

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