Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve received a leaflet about the Street lighting replacement work. What happens next?
The leaflet indicates that the works will take place in approximately 40 days. You will receive an additional notification letter two to four weeks before Balfour Beatty commences work in your area. At the same time as this, the streets will be marked to indicate the new column positions. We would also encourage you to liaise with your local Parish / Town Council so that you can understand the overall impacts in your area.

When will you be doing work in my area?
Indicative timescales are provided for when the works will be started under the ‘New Lighting Programme’ area of the website where you can search for your street. This is an indicative high level plan and is subject to change.

What does the work involve?
The work involves the upgrading of approximately 56,000 lighting units. They are being upgraded to a more efficient light source and in the majority of cases, the works will involve the replacement of life expired lighting columns. Where columns are replaced, excavations are required to transfer and upgrade the supply cables. Newer columns will not be replaced, and the lantern only will be exchanged.

Will the new columns be in the same position as the old columns?
In most residential streets, the new columns will be located at the back of the footpath and as close to the existing column as permissible. If possible, this will generally be within 3m of the current column positions. New columns on traffic routes and in areas that require a more uniform light may be in different positions. This is because the current lighting standards require a minimum light level and a consistency of lighting which may not be achievable without changing the position and spacing of the lighting columns. Additional lighting may be required for safety at road junctions.

If a new column is installed outside my house, will I be disturbed by light shining through my window?
The latest design technology helps to ensure that light is mostly directed down towards the road and pavement – but there may be a small amount of backward light. If you feel that the light is too bright please contact our customer care team (0800 7838 247) and we will carry out tests to ensure that the levels of illumination onto your property are not in excess of acceptable standards. A shield can be fitted to street lights where it is considered that the light level on a property needs to be reduced.

Who can I speak to if I have a problem with a new column location?
If you have any issues with a newly installed street lighting column or would like to put in a request to move an existing column due to be replaced, please contact our customer care team.

A street light has been located in a tree, what can be done?
Whilst every effort is made to avoid locating lights near to trees, in some circumstances it is unavoidable. Where this has happened, and the tree is on private property and over-hanging the highway, Balfour Beatty will ask the land owners to trim the tree or can arrange this on their behalf. If the tree is on public highway and does not have a Tree Preservation Order, Balfour Beatty will trim the tree so that it does not impair lighting levels.

A new street light has been installed but it is not working, who do I contact?
If an old or new street light on your road is not in light at night, please report it to us through our Contact Us page and we will endeavour to fix it as soon as we are able to.

What do I do if I am concerned about the safety or condition of the works being carried out in my area?
For all enquiries or comments regarding on site operations, please contact our customer care team. For safety concerns, please contact us on the telephone number immediately.

Why are some columns being removed and not replaced?
Under the terms of the funding for the PFI contract, Cambridgeshire County Council is required to identify savings of 10%. As part of this, a decision was made to reduce the lighting stock across the County by 10%. As traffic routes are being completely redesigned (and any savings from more efficient design are already taken into account) removals can only be taken from residential areas. This means that some residential areas may experience reductions of street lighting by 40%. The new installations are being constructed in accordance with the contract specification. These changes are in line with Authority’s policy and will greatly benefit and enhance the County.

Can the Council legally turn off lights?
Yes. There is no statutory requirement on local authorities in the UK to provide public lighting, the law states that:

  • The Highways Act empowers local authorities to light roads but does not place a duty to do so.
  • The Council has a duty of care to road users and has an obligation to light obstructions on the highway.
  • The Council has a statutory duty under the Highways Act to ensure the safety of the highway and this includes any lighting equipment placed on the highway.
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations imposes a duty on owners and operators of electrical equipment to ensure its safety.

Why are the new lights white and not yellow like the old ones?
The current yellow lanterns will be replaced with a new white light throughout the County, providing a brighter light which spreads further, illuminating more of the highway. These lamps are much more efficient and provide a white light which is clearer and safer for drivers and pedestrians.

Where can I express my views on the street lighting installation service?
A questionnaire will be delivered to your house and is available online at under the Contact Us page, which will enable you to make comments. All completed questionnaires will be evaluated with a view to improving the service to the public.