With the clocks having gone back yesterday and prospects of dark afternoons ahead, the cross-party Associate Parliamentary Lighting Group (APLG) has highlighted the need for government to provide more funding for street lighting.
Earlier this year the House of Commons transport select committee report on local roads and pathways said: 'The minister for transport has stated that the backlog in street lighting will be cleared by 2011. It is hard to share his certainty when the extent of the backlog is unknown. If this claim is to be credible, we expect a fully costed programme to be developed as part of the review of the 10 Year (Transport) Plan.'
The report concludes 'Street lighting should not be the poor relation to road and pathway maintenance - they are all part of a safe and secure street environment.'
Ms Walley continued 'The APLG is working with a wide range of organisations under the banner 'Better Lighting, Safer Citizens' to persuade government to take a cross-departmental approach towards the funding of improved public lighting. We hope the transport select committee's recommendations to address current under-investment in street lighting will draw a positive response from transport minister Kim Howells and under-secretary Tony McNulty, and we look forward to their support on this i mportant issue.'
With the support and assistance of local authorities, the UK Lighting Board has already put together a detailed inventory of the lighting stock to enable the backlog to be more accurately determined. Risk management systems have also been developed in conjunction with the County Surveyors Society and the Highways Agency. The urgent need now is for an indicative allocation of funding for street lighting to be provided as part of future local transport plan settlements to enable the backlog to be addressed.
'Protecting A Vital Asset' leaflet is available from the ILE 01788 576 492 or LIF 020 8772 9483.
Fifteen diverse organisations with an interest in crime and safety issues have so far pledged their support to the APLG's 'Better Lighting, Safer Citizens' campaign:
The County Surveyors Society, British Council for Disabled People, Help the Aged, Groundwork UK, Living Streets, Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), The Institution of LightingEngineers, Age Concern, Association of Road Safety Officers, Direct Line, Transport for London, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, BRAKE, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and the Civic Trust.