Concern raised over hundreds of faulty Ipswich street lights

Ipswich Borough Gainsborough ward councillor Martin Cook

Ipswich Borough Gainsborough ward councillor Martin Cook with one of the problem street light fixes that have not yet been repaired. - Credit: MARTIN COOK

An Ipswich councillor has raised concerns over the town's street lights after finding nearly 800 faults on the county council's reporting tool.

Ipswich Borough councillor Martin Cook tweeted about 13 damaged street lights in January, largely ‘cut-downs’ where a vehicle has hit a light and the pillar has been sawn and taped up as a temporary measure.

A response by Suffolk Highways on January 14 said that a five-week programme to tackle the road traffic collision-related lights would begin on January 31.

But Mr Cook said those he had seen had not been fixed as of March 8.

The Labour councillor for Gainsborough ward said he found 797 active street light faults in Ipswich on the county council’s reporting tool, although Suffolk Highways said the number as of Wednesday was actually 688 for Ipswich, which included faults of any kind such as lights burning by day, those hit by vehicles, and dead bulbs.

That number fluctuates each day as lights are repaired and others reported, the authority said.

Mr Cook said: “As I was tweeting these previous examples other people across the town started tweeting their own – it was at that point I realised it was a very serious problem.

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“I was optimistic when they [county highways] made that promise in January but there is precious little evidence that it has made a difference.”

Mr Cook said the reporting tool was effective for highlighting the problems but needed that to be followed up with repair work.

He added: “We need the county council to play its part with street lights. It’s such a basic, fundamental service. People rely on it for their own safety and road safety as well.”

He highlighted examples such as the Birkfield Drive underpass, where only two of the 14 lights were working.

Suffolk Highways said it had replaced or repaired 100 of the 154 street lights in Ipswich specifically related to road traffic collisions, and would have all bar a few which required specialist materials fixed by the end of the month.

Conservative cabinet member for Ipswich, operational highways and flooding, Paul West, said: “Since the beginning of 2022 our highways teams have repaired over 748 street lighting faults in Ipswich alone, and counting."