Balfour Beatty on target to complete lights project and deliver promised £1million a year energy savings to Cambridgeshire

New street lights in Sutton,

New street lights in Sutton, - Credit: Archant

On target and set to deliver the promised £1million a year energy savings is the verdict of officials on the £100million upgrade of Cambridgeshire’s street lights.

Mid way through this year contractors Balfour Beatty had completed three quarters of the replacement lights- some 40,032 from the total of 55,180.

“In addition Balfour Beatty have upgraded 4,154 illuminated bollards, signs and feeder pillars and permanently removed 4,060 street lights,” says a report to councillors.

The five year programme that began in 2011 was supported by £100million of PFI credits from the Government that allowed the council to bring their lights up to standard.

“The purpose of the contract is to upgrade all county council street lights so that they will last for the next 30 years,” says the report.

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“It is also to maintain all the street lighting, illuminated road signs and bollards so that 99 per cent of the stock is always in illumination.

“Had the council not entered into the PFI, it would have been faced with a deteriorating and expensive to operate lighting stock, which could only have been improved through investment using the council’s own funds.”

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The report says that issues arose over the past year which delayed the overall project – and meant some areas failed to be properly consulted on time tables.

“Balfour Beatty had not been adhering to the agreed consultation periods, which understandably caused dissatisfaction amongst the communities affected,” says the report.

“This has now been resolved and Balfour Beatty is adhering to the required form and period of consultation.”

The council says all residents affected by the programme so far received a customer satisfaction survey from Balfour Beatty to provide feedback on various aspects of the project.

77,548 surveys were delivered to residents last year but only 606 questionnaires were returned, amounting to a response rate of 0.8 per cent

“There has been an increase in the total number of customer inquiries raised this year; this could be attributed to more inquiries resulting from inadequate consultation,” says the council.

The report noted that “the results from the annual survey indicate that whilst only a very small percentage of residents provided their feedback, those residents who responded were less satisfied with the project than they were last year.

“This is true across all categories and the overall rating has fallen to between adequate and poor.

“The county council are aware of this and are working closely with Balfour Beatty to improve customer experience by addressing concerns promptly and monitoring more closely on the ground.”

Balfour Beatty has recruited a new head of client liaison. The report added: “The new head of client liaison is ensuring robust processes are in place and proactive engagement with parishes and residents is undertaken which has resulted in significantly less complaints being raised by parish councils to the county council.”

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