Over a thousand street lights across the Isle of Wight have recently been repaired to improve the durability of a bracket – but Island Roads have dodged questions as to whether the lights were at any point deemed dangerous and posed a risk to public safety, Island Echo can exclusively reveal.
Under the PFI contract, every street light on the Isle of Wight has been replaced in recent years. Islanders have waved goodbye to the orange glow so familiar on the UK’s streets and have said hello to modern LED lighting, which produces white light.
It has been confirmed to Island Echo that around 10% of these new street lights were recently deemed as having a bracket fitted that was potentially liable to wear, pressure or damage. The bracket was used during the installation process and affected a total of 1,200 lights, which have since been inspected and repaired.
However, Island Roads have failed to answer a simple question put forward to them by Island Echo almost 10 weeks ago – are the street lights dangerous/unsafe in their current [pre-repair] state?. A number of questions were put forward to the PFI contractor on 20th June – whilst the work was taking place – and all were answered on 1st July – apart from one. Now, 8 weeks later and our patience have worn out…
Up until now, the bracket replacement work – carried out by a contractor on behalf of the lights’ manufacturer – has been kept rather quiet. There have been no tweets, press releases, traffic notices or any kind of advisory of the works taking place locally or nationally. A lot of the replacement work took place under the cover of darkness.
A mix of Philips Luma and Philips Stela street lights are used on the Island, with Mini Luma lanterns used in areas of outstanding natural beauty. Highways England issued a safety alert about Philips Luma street lights falling to the ground in February 2018.
It is unknown when the Island’s street lights were deemed as needing repair work and whether there was a risk to public safety between that time and the time they were repaired in June/July 2019.
A spokesperson for Island Roads told Island Echo on 1st July:
“The manufacturers of the streetlights installed by Island Roads are undertaking a nationwide upgrade of the brackets used in one model on the network (Philips Luma).
“The work, which will improve the durability of the lights, is being done at the manufacturers’ cost.
“On the Island, around 1,200 brackets are being replaced and this work programme is now nearing completion”.
The news comes just 3 months after Island Roads was awarded a ‘Good Lighting’ award by the Isle of Wight branch of Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Island Echo was told on 29th July that Island Roads had prepared a statement and a statement had been received from the street light manufacturers, but clearance from the Isle of Wight Council was pending. It remains pending at the time of publication – 27th August.
READ MORE: On 22nd July this year a car crashed into a lamp post on Binstead Road in Ryde. The street light lantern was left hanging precariously by its wiring when it broke free from the lamp post.