Does the council have a legal obligation to provide street lighting?

Whilst there is no statutory duty to provide street lighting, the prime purpose of Peterborough City Council owned street lights is to provide light to the publicly maintainable adopted highway. Most of the street lighting in Peterborough is owned, operated and maintained by the county council.

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 impose a duty on owners and operators of electrical equipment to ensure its safety.

Where lighting is provided its purpose is to improve the safety of the highway with chosen locations based on traffic volumes and levels of use. The fact that some highway lighting happens to spill light to adjacent properties is incidental and not its main function. It is worth noting that there are significant areas of the City's highway network where there is no street lighting at all.

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