HUNDREDS of street lamps around Kirklees are in danger of collapse.
And Kirklees Council chiefs have been told they could face a bill running into many millions of pounds to bring the lighting up to safe standards.
A detailed survey has shown that 13,000 of the district's 50,000 ageing light columns are now well beyond their 30-year lifespan.
And 1,800 of the lamps have been deemed `an intolerable risk'.
The council has been told it could cost up to £10m to replace all the crumbling lamps in a bid to cut the risk of damage, injury or even death by a falling concrete, steel or aluminium column.
Lack of investment over the years has meant many of the lamps have fallen into a dangerous state of repair.
A report to be considered by the Kirklees Council Cabinet next Wednesday states: "There is a pressing need to deal with columns identified nationally as having specific problems".
In other parts of the country, columns have collapsed when ladders were put against them to carry out repairs.
In Kirklees, lamp posts are currently checked every three years.
Over the past four years, 250 steel columns have needed strengthening while 500 concrete columns have been replaced or fitted with steel sleeves.
At present, just £200,000 is spent every year on the upkeep of the lamps.
With that rate of spending, the backlog of lamps needing repairs will double over the next 30 years.
The report estimates spending must be increased to £600,000 to ensure all replacements can be carried out - based on a 10-year programme.
That would begin with replacing 2,000 lamps deemed the greatest risk.
Money would come from a combination of the Council's budget and borrowing.
Clr Donald Firth, chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel for Transportation, spoke about the concerns.
He said of the concrete posts:
"These lamp columns should have been changed years ago."
He continued: "As they have aged they have basically started to crack up.
"There are quite a few around Holmfirth. If you look it is quite visible where bits of concrete have fallen out."
He said newer lamps were also safer for road users as they gave out a whiter light, increasing visibility.
CASE STUDY: BRADLEY
A SECLUDED Bradley path has become a `muggers' paradise' after a street lamp failed, claim residents.
Louis Day, 76, of Oak Road, says people now fear to use the murky track leading between his street and Woodman Avenue.
The solitary light illuminating the 40-yard track has been out of action for three weeks.
Kirklees Council replaced the bulb three days after Mr Day contacted them, but a problem with the electricity supply has meant the light remained out of action.
Workmen from the electricity company YEDL have been trying to fix the fault.
"With the light out it's a dangerous spot to get through," said Mr Day.
"It's just pitch black going through at night-time."