Street lighting fault reporting | Oxfordshire County Council

Street lighting fault reporting

How to report a faulty street light online or by phone.

You can help by letting us know if you see a streetlight, illuminated traffic sign or bollard that is not working.

Report a street light fault online

Enter a postcode, or street name/area:
 

Report it by phone

Call our free 24 hour fault line on 0800 317802 *

* Please note that the fault line has an answerphone. Any messages left outside of normal office hours (9am - 5pm) are taken off first thing each working weekday.

To report serious or dangerous damage outside normal office hours, call Thames Valley Police on 101.

If you are reporting a damaged streetlight 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.

What you need to tell us

Most repairs are carried out in the daylight, when it is not easy to establish which light is faulty without accurate information. You can help us repair the fault quickly by telling us:

  • which town or village it is in
  • which road or street it is in
  • the number of the unit (this is normally found on the street side of the column approximately two to three metres up. It is normally a black number on a white square)
  • other information to help us locate it: what number house it is outside or some other adjacent building or landmark
  • what the fault is

Street lights FAQs

How quickly will the repairs be carried out once reported?

Our current policy is for our contractor to attend electrical and structural emergencies as a priority; these will be attended within a 24hr period. All other faults are logged on our management system, for efficiency, these are grouped by area and the date they were reported, and the contractor attends against a programmed of works based on this approach.

What is the County Council responsible for?

We are responsible for:

  • maintaining the county council's street lights and illuminated traffic signs and bollards
  • administering the contract to supply them with electricity
  • designing new street lighting installations and approving the designs of developers.

How we maintain and test lights

Currently we are only identifying faults when reported by members of the public or staff due to not having a full contract in place.

Electricity supply faults

Our response standards apply to all electrical faults within our control. Often the fault is a failure in the electricity supply, which is the responsibility of the energy supplier. In Oxfordshire this is mainly Scottish and Southern Energy, with Western Power covering the Banbury area and UK Power Networks covering the Thame and Chinnor area.

Unfortunately any power failure due to cable/supply fault is outside the control of Oxfordshire County Council and has to be dealt with by the local electricity supply company, to whom this has been reported. In the home or office, the electricity company is bound by a charter to ensure continuity of supply. They are under no such obligation to local authorities for street lighting, and our ability to obtain a speedy service from them is limited to friendly persuasion

Oxfordshire County Council’s contractor is not permitted in any way to interfere with or try to repair electricity supply faults, as they would be in breach of the statutory safety regulations if they tried to do so.  Once the electricity supply company advises Oxfordshire County Council the fault is rectified we will confirm this within our regular inspection programme to ensure that the light as a whole is in working order.

Damage from road traffic accidents

We attend and make safe within a 24 hour period.  Column replacement, if required, will take place as soon as we are able to do so.  Wherever possible costs are recouped from those found to be responsible.

Can I hang festive lights from columns?

Permission is required from Oxfordshire County Council before hanging festive decorations from street lighting columns.

While festive lighting, such as Christmas decorations and hanging baskets may look attractive, it is essential that these do not put the public at risk, or obscure or damage highway lighting columns. For this reason, the columns must be structurally tested, the costs borne by the applicant.

There is a code of practice for festive lighting. Copies can be obtained from the Institute of Lighting Professionals. Any festive lighting that is erected is the responsibility of the owner not the county council. This includes responsibility for maintenance and the cost of electricity used.

How can I request additional lighting?

Unfortunately Oxfordshire County Council does not have any funds available at this time to install additional lighting as our street lighting budget is used for the energy, cost and maintenance of our existing street lights.

However if the Parish Council were prepared to fund the initial installation /servicing costs and pay a commuted sum (this is an upfront sum to cover future maintenance costs) we would be prepared to take on  future energy and maintenance costs for that lighting as long as it is installed on the public highway and to our specification.

In rural areas new lighting will only be provided in consultation with the local councils. A test will be whether it is necessary (for road safety or security reasons), affordable and sustainable

It may also be worth contacting Thames Valley Police to see if they would be prepared to fund the initial installation and servicing costs if this area is known as an accident ‘hotspot’ or if it is an anti-social behaviour area. 

How do you check lights that burn during daylight hours?

Most street lights are controlled by photoelectric cells and these are designed to fail in the on position (i.e. the light will be on in the daytime).

We do not undertake complete inspections of all our equipment to detect 'dayburners', but rely mainly upon reports of these. There is no additional cost to us because of the way we pay for our electricity (unmetered supply), although it is still important that these are reported to us for repair as they do use additional energy that could be saved.

What happens if my trees or bushes obscure a light?

If you have a tree or bush in your garden that is affecting the efficiency of a street light, please keep it trimmed. This includes bushes that surround the base of the column or sign as access is needed for inspections and testing for electrical safety.

If we discover a problem, we will write to the owner of the land from which the tree is growing asking for the tree/bush to be trimmed. If no action is taken we will arrange for the trimming and may pass the cost on to the owner.

Can I attach anything to a lighting column?

Modern lighting columns are critically designed for structural strength. For this reason we do not allow any advertising signs etc to be attached to our equipment. Only approved and necessary signs are allowed.

Why does my street light turn off at night?

As part of Oxfordshire County Council's Carbon Action Plan, we have implemented various carbon and council tax saving measures.  One of these is to switch off street lights in residential areas from 12.30am to 5.30am, where safe to do so and with parish council approval.  We also use dimming technology for the same reason.

Do you fix the street lighting columns?

There is an annual column replacement programme. This is designed to identify and replace lighting columns that are in a bad structural condition through age. It is normally done on a whole road basis. We have an annual programme of electronic structural testing of approximately 3,000 columns per year which is carried out by a specialist contractor.

Where can I find more information on general lighting matters?

For more information on general lighting matters, such as guidance on domestic security lighting, the reduction of light pollution or the effects of lighting on crime etc. please visit the Institute of Lighting Professionals website.

How many lights do you look after?

There are about 59,700 street lights, 3,500 illuminated signs and 2,100 illuminated bollards in the county. In any year we receive approximately 14,000 reports of lights not working.

Will LED lanterns be installed in my area?

Yes it is OCC policy to install LED lanterns where appropriate to all new column positions and any replacement lanterns to reduce energy and use the most up to date technology.

How is OCC street lighting managing increasing energy costs and reducing their carbon footprint?

It is OCC policy to use the newest technology available to reduce the energy consumption and maintenance visits; this is including LED lanterns on all new column replacement schemes, new housing developments and on maintenance when a new lantern is required. This also includes all new lanterns dimming to 50% light output on residential roads from 10pm to 6am and 75% on traffic routes from 12am to 6am.

Last reviewed
26 April 2017
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