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Street lighting

Street lighting in Dorset is provided by SSE Contracting Ltd, with the service being governed by the council's street lighting policy.

Any fault that could cause danger to a member of the public should be reported as an emergency on the 24 hour helpline: 0800 068 4145. This number can also be used to report other faults.

If a street light is damaged it may be dangerous, especially if any wiring can be seen. You should not attempt to help by covering up or touching the wires but, if necessary you should warn children to keep away. Please call us immediately so that we can make it safe as quickly as possible.

You will need the road name, the column reference number (which is painted on its side), the name or number of the property the column is positioned outside of and information on the type of fault.

Non-emergency faults can also be reported to SSE Contracting Ltd directly online.

Report a problem with street lighting

Report a problem with street lighting or illuminated signs to SSE Contracting Ltd.

Repairs, replacement and re-positioning

Emergencies are attended and made safe within two hours, urgent repairs are undertaken within 24 hours but most normal repairs are completed within five working days.

If a column has to be replaced then this should be done within 15 working days. Faults involving the electrical service to the light, or energising supplies to new columns, are outside the control of the council and we rely on the local electricity company to undertake these works, again usually taking 15 working days.

Lit traffic signs and bollards are maintained by the same contractor as street lighting, faults to these types of equipment should be reported immediately on 0800 068 4145.

A programme of major renewal works has been completed. If your lights haven't already been replaced by newer light columns then they are unlikely to now be changed, as they have been deemed safe.

New technology is continually assessed and may be introduced to the service, depending on the actual benefits that might be realised and the possibility of funding.

It is sometimes possible to request lights be repositioned, in exceptional circumstances, but you will be expected to meet all the costs which can be in excess of £1,500. Columns are placed in positions where they provide proper and adequate lighting; it is not always possible to re-site a lamp post as it may impair the level of lighting.

Unfortunately, there is no funding currently available to introduce or improve street lighting, if your road currently has no lighting or the levels are inadequate it is unlikely to be improved.

Street lights on private land

Only lights on the adopted highway maintained by the council. Lights in car parks or on private roads, public areas and unfinished developments are owned by the landlord and they remain responsible for the repair and maintenance of the equipment.

If any of these lights are reported faulty then SSE Contracting Ltd will direct you to the owner, if this information is held.

Street lighting design

Street lighting schemes are designed to take into account:

  • the cost of maintaining the equipment
  • the durability of the equipment
  • energy efficiency
  • minimisation of light pollution

New developments, being offered for adoption, must comply with the council's street lighting and illuminated signs specification.

Standard lighting columns are not designed to carry any additional attachments such as signs/banners/hanging baskets/Christmas lights and would be in danger of collapse if attachments are made. Only regulatory traffic signs can normally be attached to street lights, if the column is specifically designed to carry that attachment.

Street lighting contract

In 2006 the council appointed Dorset Lighting (Finance) Ltd as its street lighting service provider with a 25 year Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract. SSE Contracting Limited now act as their agent to deliver the front line service.

SSE Contracting Ltd are responsible for the customer interface, asset management, design and installation plus the ongoing repair and maintenance of Dorset's existing street lighting stock - covering around 42,000 columns and other pieces of equipment.

SSE Contracting Ltd has replaced all the street lighting infrastructure that was beyond its design life, ensuring the long-term structural integrity and electrical safety of the apparatus. The new units produce less upward light pollution, helping to protect the unique local environment and are much more energy efficient.

The street lighting service now meets the minimum British Standard – improving road safety during the hours of darkness and reducing crime and the fear of crime, while enhancing the environment and quality of life for residents and visitors. Part night lighting has been introduced in areas with the lowest levels of highway use to reduce spiralling energy costs.

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