But one of my constituents had emailed to express his concerns about the number of street lights out in Sherwood, so I arranged to join a KCC lighting engineer on a “scout” trip around Sherwood, Pembury and St James to see for myself the extent of the problem.
Whereas Kent County Council previously had a “bulk replace” system which replaced every lamp in a particular road at once, it has now adopted a “burn to extinction” policy which only replaces lamps once they’ve gone out. Consequently, outages have to be reported either by contractors or inspectors on “scout and repair” missions, or by local residents themselves.
Add to this the fact that the responsibility for maintaining streetlights can be down to either County, Borough or Parish councils, only adds to the confusion.
However, we drove around Pembury, Sherwood, and St James until just after eleven o’clock, and I finally got home at a quarter to midnight, having worked almost a seventeen hour day.
I’ve learned chapter and verse on street lighting, footway lighting, low-pressure and high-pressure, sodium and magnesium. I’ve seen warm lighting, cold lighting, ‘flashers’ and missing cyphers.
But the point is, I’ve a much better idea about reporting faults, and how to answer residents’ questions about lighting in future. Oh, and KCC’s contractors are now going in tomorrow to make sure the lights get repaired.