Kirklees Council has been condemned for failing to regularly inspect street lighting in the borough.

Instead, it has been accused of an over-reliance on members of the public reporting broken or damaged lamps.

Last week it was revealed that the average time taken by the authority to repair street lights that have been reported as faulty is 11 days.

The national average is seven.

Figures reported by the Liberal Democrats revealed that faulty street lights were reported on 7,136 occasions. Currently, there are more than 150 across Kirklees awaiting repair.

Clr Nicola Turner, leader of the Kirklees Liberal Democrat group
Clr Nicola Turner, leader of the Kirklees Liberal Democrat group

The situation was described as “a gift to criminals and a threat to public safety” by Lib Dem leader Clr Nicola Turner.

Now the council has been further criticised for its apparently lacklustre inspection policy and the “flawed” notion of relying on members of the public to report street lights needing repair.

Simon Turner from Dewsbury castigated the council for its repair strategy which, he claimed, allows lamps to stay unlit for months or even years.

He also compared Kirklees unfavourably to neighbouring authorities in Wakefield and Leeds, which carry out monthly checks.

“It is deeply concerning that Kirklees relies solely on members of the public reporting unlit streetlights, signs and bollards to them,” he said. “With the exception of main roads and in town centres they have no inspection policy at all to ensure lights remain lit.

“Reliance solely on the public to keep the street lights and signs of Kirklees lit is completely unsustainable and fatally flawed.

“I encourage members of the public to take a walk around their area and note how many signs, bollards and street lights are unlit, just so they can see the scale of the problem in Kirklees. Then walk around Wakefield or Leeds and notice the difference.”

The Examiner contacted both Wakefield Council and Leeds City Council for their response. A spokesman for Wakefield Council confirmed that inspections take place for unlit lights/signs/bollards within the Wakefield district on a four-weekly cycle.

And in Leeds light assets are inspected once a month between April and August and twice a month between September and March.

In the light of the Leeds and Wakefield responses Clr Turner said: “It is crucial that street lighting is effectively maintained, particularly in the more urbanised areas.

“Other authorities use an outside contractor to carry out regular inspections. Perhaps Kirklees needs to explore this and other options to ensure street lamps are regularly inspected and maintained and people feel safe.”

A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “The council encourages people to report broken street lights through its website

“This is generally very effective in winter when days are shorter and the lack of light is more noticeable. During this time we find that the majority of lights are reported quickly and fixed soon after.

“During the summer, when the issues are less noticeable, we have teams who go out scouting the main routes after dark to check for broken or faulty lights. This extra checking means that by the winter the majority of the network will be fully operational.”