Whilst legally there is no requirement on local authorities in the UK to provide public lighting, The Highways Act 1980 empowers a Highway Authority to provide lighting for any highway or proposed highway for which they are, or will be, the Highway Authority.
Having provided lighting, Highway Authorities have a duty of care. This duty of care does not imply any duty on the Highway Authority to keep the public lighting lit. However, an authority responsible for the maintenance of public lighting should be able to demonstrate that they have systems in place to maintain the public lighting equipment in a safe condition.
Since July 2006 Leeds City Council, under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI), has been working with our partner SSE Contracting to ensure the replacement of approximately 82,000 old street lights throughout Leeds. You can follow the progress of the works at the Leeds Lighting PFI website.
SSE Contracting, as the council’s service provider, are also responsible for the planned maintenance and repair of our street lights, illuminated traffic signs and illuminated bollards.
Although SSE Contracting patrol the streets on a regular basis to identify faulty lights, it helps us to provide a better lighting service if you let us know about any faulty lights. To report failed street lights or other problems with street lighting, please use either the freephone number, the Contact Us form below or Report a Highways problem, within the Do It Online area at the top right hand side of this page. Please give us as much information as you can, such as the location, and, if possible, the identification number of the apparatus.
SSE Contracting aim to repair faults within a target response time of seven working days and generally this is achieved, except where the Yorkshire Electricity (YEDL) power supply is faulty. SSE Contracting are prohibited from working on the YEDL cable network, but they do work closely with YEDL and advise them of these faults. YEDL subsequently aim to restore the power supply within nationally recognised timescales.
Some faults are categorised as emergencies and SSE Contracting aim to attend to these within 1 hour. Please can you report these to our freephone number on 0800 0325349 as soon as possible.
Emergency faults include:
- The door at the bottom is missing and electrical wires are showing.
- The street light lantern or the bowl is hanging.
- Street lights, illuminated signs or illuminated bollards which have been damaged or knocked down by a vehicle.
All Street lights, illuminated signs and illuminated bollards have a unique number on them i.e. 2K191. Usually this is a black number on a white patch and it helps us if you can tell us what this number is when you contact us.
If you believe that SSE Contracting has failed to respond to your report appropriately, you can complain to the City Council by emailing us.
Some facts and figures
- Street lighting costs each household in Leeds about £1.66 a year.
- There are approximately 91,900 street lights and 11,000 illuminated traffic signs and illuminated bollards in Leeds.
- The electricity bill costs around £4 million each year.
- The electricity for street lighting is 100% Good Quality Combined Heat and Power (GQCHP), whilst not being produced through entirely renewable sources i.e. wind, hydro etc. It is produced as a by-product of other activities and not directly using fossil fuels.
- We always try to recover repair costs for items that are vandalised or damaged.
- All new lighting is installed to comply, as far as reasonably practicable, with the British Standard for Road Lighting, BS5489:2003.
- Each individual streetlight is switched on and off via a photocell which is located on top of the lantern. These cells are designed to ‘Fail Safe’ which is why you will occasionally see lights on during the day.