I have been complaining about the street light replacement contract for the last 18 months since Barnet Lighting Services notified me that they were going to dig up three perfectly good lighting columns and replace them with three brand new columns. I took the time to go out and photograph the base of the columns and showed them to my local councillors – look no corrosion, the lights work so why go to all that expense when it is not needed. “Ah”, I was told, “it is a regulation and as it is a PFI contract you don’t need to worry about it”. Not surprisingly I was rather irritated by that response especially as in 2010/11 Barnet Council paid Barnet Lighting Services £5,295,243.80 plus a further £30,828.68 to David Webster Limited. I also raised it on the Barnet Councils Ideas website asking why we were replacing perfectly good street lamps at a time that budgets were being cut.
So what, you may say. Well in a new Delegated Powers Report it looks like someone has seen sense at last. They are going to stop replacing streetlights and instead divert the capital into “installing new technology to enable the implementation of energy saving measures”. Given that Barnet Council spend around £1 million a year in electricity costs for street lights anything which can help to reduce that cost should be welcomed.
My only complaint is why they didn’t listen to what local residents were saying and do it sooner .