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MP calls for Electricity North West street lighting debate in Westminster

May 15, 2013 10:00 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has asked for a parliamentary debate on the possibility that Electricity North West (ENW) may turn off many street lights in rural areas.The utility company took a decision in 2011 that, following the death of a BT engineer who was working on a 'joint user pole', they could not guarantee the health and safety of third parties.

ENW has therefore ruled that when its wooden poles carrying live electricity wires come up for replacement or repair, they will "remove all third party apparatus", including street lights.

South Lakeland District Council estimates it could cost over £100,000 to replace the district's poles. Copeland has about 200 lamps on ENW poles, out of 1,400 footway lighting units. It estimates it would cost £300,000 to replace them. There are 1,581 footway lights in Eden, 681 on telegraph poles. Replacing these and other lighting stock could cost £1.6m.

Tim said: "Even though Electricity North West has given certain assurances, I am still worried that they will not help local councils with this. I am really concerned that thousands of lights will be switched off, or that residents will be left with a massive tax bill. I hope that a debate in the House of Commons will show the strength of feeling and encourage Electricity North West to re-think their plans."