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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:17 pm 
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Local government reorganisation has happened a few times before, includng a major reorganisation in 1974. There is a potential new wave of local government reorganisation being considered at county levels. Unlike previous reorganisations, the presence of PFIs and invest to save schemes will make changes that little bit more tricky.

Down south, proposals for merging councils are being consulted on in both Hampshire and Dorset. Changes could result in the merging or abolition of local borough and district councils, and the formation of new unitary authorities. This merging of local authorities to form large new unitary authorities could also include existing local authorities.

Lighting wise, in Hampshire all three lighting authorities have PFIs. Hampshire and Southampton have a joint street lighting PFI contract which started in 2010, whilst Portsmouth has a highways PFI contract that started in 2004 (although replacements only started in 2005). In Dorset, Dorset CC has a street lighting PFI which commenced in 2006, whilst both Bournemouth and Dorset have done their own LED invest-to-save schemes.

Of course, splitting an existing county into a couple of unitary authorities would broadly just involve dividing the assets on a PFI and each new council paying their own share. Merging authorities is more difficult, as there could be the situation where a new council has two or even three existing contracts to deal with. Hampshire and Southampton are quite easy, thanks to the joint working on their lighting PFIs. Hampshire and Portsmouth are tricky, as both authorities have their own PFIs for lighting, and the specifications are vastly different. Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole are also quite tricky, as one has a PFI, whilst the others have done invest-to-save and still have huge quantities of old columns.

It was easier in the old days when street lighting was an in-house council service and replacement schemes were smaller and more regular. But now that there are PFI contracts locking councils in to 25 year terms, with irregular bulk replacements, trying to manage change is awkward. How do you apply a common standard if you have two vastly different contracts and lighting specifications? There are all sorts of options that can be done, some of which come at some cost. One thing is for sure, if any local government reorganisation does result in boundary changes between existing county and unitary authorities, things will get quite interesting for how street lighting is managed.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:36 pm 
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Enfield and Barnet shared the same contractor for their PFIs, but it was unclear whether the contract was still split and project managed separately, or joint oversight between the two boroughs? The only difference in look and feel was Barnet's stock was green and Enfield's was black, which meant that whilst Arc lanterns were used across both, economies of scale could not be fully realised.


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