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MP claims win as Electricity NW agree fund for street lighting

November 18, 2013 5:22 PM

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.South Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed the news that Electricity North West have listened to residents after a long running campaign and agreed to provide funding to help with relocation of street lights from electricity pylons to new columns. Tim has said that this money is welcome, but more could be needed.

Following the death of a BT engineer who was working on a 'joint user pole', the utility company took a decision in 2011 that they would no longer allow street lights to be sighted on their pylons. Last week, Tim was able to secure an assurance from BT that they will not be removing council street lights from their poles. After the assurances from BT, Tim contacted Electricity North West and asked them to act. Tim has also raised the issue in Parliament.

Steve Johnson, CEO of Electricity North West, said to Tim in a letter today: "My team met with parish council representatives and local stakeholders again today, and do I understand the strength of feeling on this subject locally. Therefore, in recognition of potential impact on rural communities, and with restricted council budgets in mind, I would like to offer a fund of £250,000 to be overseen and allocated by Cumbria County Council to allow for the relocation of lights from our poles to new columns in areas most affected by our programme of work."

"We are yet to speak to the council direct about this, but I hope in the coming days and weeks we will be able to arrange the details so that the network achieves its aim of being free from this unacceptable risk, and local communities are not adversely affected."

Tim said: "This is welcome news and I want to thank Electricity North West for their gesture. I will be telling them that this is a positive step forward, but that I still strongly question whether they really do need to remove the lamps in the first place. I will not be letting up on this.

"I also want to thank Parish Councils throughout South Lakeland and Eden for their help providing the evidence that we used to secure this fund. I hope that Cumbria County Council will now make the money available as soon as possible."

"I want to specifically thank local councillor Pru Jupe and Beetham Parish Council for their dogged campaigning on this issue. They really led this campaign from the front. This money will hopefully make a big difference."