Five Key Challenges For Street Lighting In 2022 And Beyond

Street lighting is a vital part of the UK’s public infrastructure, and experts argue it could help contribute to a safer, greener future for the country. But the industry faces a number of tough problems in the coming years¹, from managing budgets to sourcing the right vehicle mounted access platforms.

In this article, we explore five key challenges that contractors must understand and tackle if they want to thrive in 2022 and beyond:

1. Budget management

Given that the UK government’s National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline has promised £650bn for infrastructure schemes over the next decade, we might assume budgeting is going to be less of a problem in the coming years. But this overlooks two challenges.

First, public finances are under unprecedented pressure – and that means tough decisions are on the way. Projects which are deemed to be economically inefficient or lack a clear Return On Investment will likely be the first to be shelved.

Second, contractors often overlook ways they could improve their budgeting efficiency. For example, by switching to a leasing model for their Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms, many firms could gain far greater control over their spending – and make themselves a far more appealing proposition when bidding on contracts.


2. LED lighting

Street lighting typically consumes around 30% of a local authority’s budget², but this figure drops quite a bit if they have switched to LED lighting. It has been suggested that local authorities could save £100 million a year by making the switch³

Another reason demand for LED street lighting has grown is climate change. LED lights offer 100,000 hours of light, compared to 15,000 from normal bulbs, presenting a huge opportunity to reduce energy usage and create more sustainable public infrastructure.

This helps explain why local councils have spent nearly £500 million installing LED street lighting since 2016. Experts estimate the UK’s streets will be 100% LED lit by 2035, but it is smaller, less well-funded areas that contractors should look to for the biggest opportunities.

3. Public safety

While LED lighting provides huge cost and climate benefits, it also presents challenges in terms of reliability. In London, by far the most advanced area in terms of LED adoption, nearly 1,500 complaints have been made relating to street lighting since 2016

This speaks to a larger issue of public safety. Recent studies have found that well-lit street can reduce crime by 36%, meaning street lighting is not just a tick-box compliance exercise but a potential means of improving the safety and wellbeing of local populations.

Street lighting contractors have a responsibility to help local authorities make better use of street lighting as a means of improving safety. Doing so will not only fulfill social responsibility, but help contractors build better relations with their customers.

4. The Internet of Things (IoT)

Urban planners and local authorities are empowered by greater volumes of high-quality data. Smart, connected street lighting could be an unparalleled source of real-time information for them in the future, enabling everything from monitoring traffic to enabling more efficient energy usage.

Making this a widespread reality will require a great deal of innovation and investment. Street lighting contractors and manufacturers should champion this approach, making the case for better connected, technologically empowered systems.

A government report from June raised security concerns as a major roadblock to implementing smart street lighting technology. The report asked for additional guidance on security matters, and those in the industry that are able to help resolve these concerns will likely position themselves well for future opportunities.

5. Reliability

Finally, street lighting contractors face a challenge ensuring they are able to deliver projects on time and budget reliably. The construction industry as a whole has developed a reputation for delays and budgetary problems, and overcoming these issues will help contractors win 

One factor to consider is procurement: plenty of problems arise not because of the contractors themselves, but a lack of transparency or reliability in the supply chain. Ensuring key equipment like vehicle-mounted access platforms are on-site when needed is vital to keep things ticking along and stay on target.

Contractors should therefore consider who they partner with – their reputation, delivery model and capacity. At Access Hire, we operate the UK’s largest, most reliable fleet of vehicle mounted access platforms, and with fully inclusive maintenance and support, we help our street lighting customers deliver reliable results every time.


Five Important Ways to Improve Safety in the Forestry Industry

Physical safety is among the biggest challenges for the forestry industry. In the last decade, 24 arborists have been killed while working – and nearly 1,400 have suffered an injury¹. It currently ranks as the industry with the most fatal accidents in the UK – with 8 times more than the second placed Construction ².

Of course, some level of risk is inevitable in an industry where individuals are working at heights and operating equipment like chainsaws and often working alone. But there are many decisions project managers and leaders can make to ensure their people are safe and secure.

In this article, we explore five important ways Welfare Hire and Access Hire help equip our forestry partners for improved safety, using our range of vehicle mounted access platforms, mobile welfare units and mobile lighting towers:

1. Secure vehicles for working at heights

Falling from heights accounts for nearly a quarter of all workplace deaths in the UK³, and is the single most common cause of injury in forestry. This means extra attention needs to be paid to the vehicles and equipment used to undertake such work.

Access Hire’s market-leading Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms provide the robust support workers need to work at heights. With two person baskets and advanced platform controls, workers feel in control and able to navigate challenging conditions with confidence.

2. Comfortable space to rest

The links between poor quality rest and accidents in the workplace are well established. But in an industry like forestry, onsite errors can lead to far more severe outcomes than most.

Welfare Hire’s innovative mobile welfare units are designed to ensure this is never an issue. They provide up to 20% more internal space for rest, along with a range of vital amenities, comfortable seating and high-quality facilities, so your people are always able to relax during down time and stay present on the job.

3. High-quality lighting towers

Working during periods without natural light is vital to deliver most forestry projects. But this leaves you vulnerable to lighting failure – which not only causes disruptions, but can lead to health and safety risks.

Welfare Hire’s eco-friendly lighting towers provide the perfect solution, providing high-quality, energy efficient light that allows you to keep the work area properly lit at all times. The X-EcoHYBRID LITHIUM lighting tower, for example, offers a whopping 445 hours of continuous light per refill.

4. Reliable support

Equipment failure causes disruption to forestry projects – especially those that are in very remote, difficult-to-reach locations. But it also presents a risk to onsite safety, as malfunctioning equipment may lead to accidents or errors.

This is particularly so given the environmental challenges faced by forestry projects; in a recent survey, 15% of forestry professionals cited “Mother Nature” as the single biggest challenge they face.

As a result, these businesses must have reliable support on hand to handle any issues their specialist equipment presents. Both Welfare Hire and Access Hire provide just such help, with 24/7 dedicated expert support available to every client

Kelling Group Access Hire Maintenance

5. Regular service and maintenance

Reliable support is important, but so are preventative measures. That is why Welfare Hire and Access Hire each also pride themselves on providing regular, rigorous maintenance on all of our vehicles that goes above and beyond the regulatory standards.

We take care of LOLER testing of our vehicle mounted access platforms; every welfare unit undergoes a 62-point pre-delivery inspection; every vehicle mounted access platform undergoes a 50-point pre-delivery inspection; and we ensure seamless delivery of every vehicle, to keep our customers working at all times