local authorities modernise their street lighting, with the promise
of more money to follow, transport minister John Spellar has
An annual bidding round will be introduced from March 2003, which
will allow local authorities in England (except London) to bid for
Private Finance Initiative (PFI) funding for their projects.
The government estimates that across England there is a£1bn backlog
in the maintenance of street lighting, a problem that it is
determined to tackle. A survey by the Institution of Lighting
Engineers estimated that 27% of street light columns were now over 30
years old. Left unchecked, that situation could lead to danger for
all road users.
Announcing the new funding, Mr Spellar said:
'Our£180bn Ten Year Plan for Transport gives the commitment to
eliminate the maintenance backlog in street lighting. The new funding
that I have announced today will lead to a better and safer road
network for everyone.
'The decision to introduce an annual bidding round with large amounts
of money available will ensure that England's street lighting is not
only renewed, but also improved. This will bring brighter, lighter
streets, while also reducing crime and road accidents.'
Full details of how local authorities can apply for this new funding
will be issued later in the year. A separate bidding round will
operate in London, where a further£85m will be available for
street lighting PFI schemes over the next three years.
The first annual bidding round will be launched in March 2003 with
all local highways authorities in England (outside London) being
invited to submit an Expression of Interest for their street lighting
project proposals. Further information about the bidding round
process will be issued in December to give authorities extra time to
prepare for this first round, to which£300m has been
allocated. However, not all of this allocation will be used if there
are insufficient bids of a high enough standard.
A parallel bidding scheme will also be undertaken for London boroughs
by the Government Office for London, which has its own PFI credit
So far, two street lighting projects have commenced operation in
England, in Brent and Walsall. A further seven schemes are currently
at procurement stage, having been endorsed by the Project Review
Group (PRG), the Office of Government Commerce group that assesses
all local authority PFI projects.
A list of all endorsed PFI projects is on the websiteof the ODPM. Further information
about the OGC may be obtained from their website (www.ogc.gov.uk).
Projects endorsed by the PRG and included in the list become eligible
for revenue support as long as current proposals are translated into
contracts. Endorsements are given for the year in which the project
is expected to reach contract close and for a specified amount. If
these circumstances change a project may have to be re-appraised by
The general criteria used in prioritising which projects are put
forward to the PRG were sent to local authorities on 21 December 1998
and 23 December 1999. They may also be viewed on the page headed
'Criteria for Assessing Schemes' on the ODPM's website.
The procedures and the published lists relate only to projects
requiring extra revenue support from central government. Projects
that are financially free-standing and so do not require central
government revenue support do not have to be considered by the PRG.
This announcement relates only to local authority PFI projects in
England. Separate arrangements apply elsewhere.