Safety fears as report reveals it takes 4 weeks to repair faulty street lights

FAULTY street lights in the Capital are being left in need of repair for an average of a month before the council is able to send out an electrician, the Evening News can reveal.

Monday, 20th November 2017, 7:51 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 4:24 am
The council are taking 4 weeks on average to fix broken street lights.

A backlog of repairs and trouble recruiting electricians means there are currently more than 4,000 faulty lights, prompting safety fears as the nights close over winter.

It comes after a briefing note sent to councillors reported that due to the “volume” of repairs, it was taking “an average of 20 working days to attend street lighting reports”.

There are currently 4,218 street lighting faults, including 123 Scottish Power faults.

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Overall Edinburgh has more than 64,000 street lights.

Latest council figures show only 55.9 per cent of five-day repairs – for five or less consecutive dark lights – were completed within the allotted period.

But that was falling short of the 70 per cent target.

The delay has been put down to trouble recruiting electricians, with the council currently recruiting for five vacancies.

They said the wait period had been reduced to 18 days.

But Kevin Lang, Lib Dem councillor for Almond ward, said the wait period was “wholly unacceptable” and urged the administration to make the issue a priority.

He said: “The position in my ward is dreadful. We have street lights that we reported literally months ago that are still not being tended to.

“We got a message from officials to say it’s now taking on average 20 working days.

“In reality that’s a whole month to get basic street light failures resolved.

“It’s another demonstration on top of missed bin collections, potholes and broken pavements that this administration is not getting the basics right.

“It cannot be acceptable that it’s taking an average of a whole month to get even a basic broken or unlit street light repaired.”

Councillors in Colinton/Fairmilehead also voiced concern, with Labour’s Scott Arthur saying many felt footpaths were “simply unsafe” when not properly lit.

His Tory counterpart, Jason Rust, who has submitted a written question on the subject for next week’s full council, said the repair delays were “extremely concerning”.

He said: “Many residents have been in contact and particularly from a community safety angle there are real worries about this backlog.

The council need to provide some reassurance this situation is being urgently reviewed.”

However Lesley Macinnes, the council’s transport and environment convener, said “every effort” was being made to bring down the length of time it took to fix the lights.

She said: “Faulty street lights are understandably very frustrating for residents and we share their desire for repairs to be carried out as quickly as possible.

“The current situation has been exacerbated by an ongoing shortage in street lighting electricians, who are proving hard to recruit.

“That said, it’s reassuring to see that performance is improving and we will continue to make every effort to bring down the time it takes to fix street lights.”