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Street lighting attachments

Not all street lighting columns can carry attachments (for example small signs, a hanging basket or Christmas decorations).

Any attachment will affect the loading and structural stability of the street light, so you need to apply for a licence to attach seasonal decorations to a steel street light.


​The application for a licence needs to be submitted at least 4 weeks, and in some traffic sensitive locations 12 weeks, before the proposed erection date.

We will only consider requests for attachments to steel lighting columns.

The officer dealing with your request may wish to meet with you in order to determine the exact location, position, fixings and power source.

You will need to supply:

  • public liability insurance to £5 million for any one event
  • evidence of competency for each person who will carry out work on the highway
  • site specific risk assessments and method statements
  • structural test reports for the street lights you require the licence to cover
  • where applicable, evidence that there are arrangements in place to pay for the energy consumption of the equipment
  • dates of installation and removal

All attachments requiring an electrical supply must be inspected and tested before being commissioned and the electrical test documentation submitted within five working days of application.

Email [email protected] to apply for a licence.

The officer will need to consider:

  • abnormal load routes
  • possible obstructions to highway signs or traffic signals
  • whether there are any planned works that will be affected by the installation
  • the safety of the county council's contractors who are required to work in the vicinity of such installations
  • access for emergency services
  • glare and nuisance from a light source
  • noise and light pollution
  • overhead power and telephone lines in the vicinity
  • traffic disruption during installation and removal (the applicant will be responsible for any Traffic Management Act notices required)
  • traffic sensitive streets – a permit to work on the highway may also be required
  • access for maintenance of the attachments
  • whether you are employing competent persons to undertake the work
  • how the attachment is to be safely installed, maintained and removed with due consideration to both yourself and the public

The officer dealing with the application will make contact within 10 working days to inform that either:

  • the application has been processed and approved
  • more time is required to carry out the appraisal
  • alternative proposals should be considered
  • the application has been rejected

If the column is less than seven years old, the manufacturer can provide guidance on whether the column is suitable.

If the column is older than seven year old a specialist company can be employed to apply loadings applicable to specific sizes of attachment and prove that columns are structurally sound to enable the attachment to be applied.

The engineer’s completed and signed documentation must be provided before proceeding with any attachment. The capital costs of testing and associated works are to be met by your organisation.

Attachments to hinged columns are not permitted as they can cause interference with the lowering mechanism presenting possible health and safety concerns for operatives.

Where new columns are required, at least 16 weeks’ notice needs to be given in the year that an attachment is to be made in order for works to be completed.

All attachments to lighting columns above footways and verges must be at least 2.5 metres to the underside of any attachment, such as a hanging basket or sign, protruding from the column. In the case of columns specifically strengthened to accommodate an attachment; the height must comply with that on which the structural design is based.

This is to ensure pedestrians and vehicles do not make contact with the attachment.

Permission will not be given to support catenaries or bunting from lighting columns. However, the county council may be able to grant permission for them to be suspended between buildings, a minimum of 5.8m above the road (7.5m on abnormal load routes). The clearance must also allow for any cable sag. You should also satisfy yourselves with the strength and suitability of the anchorages and the wall to which they are fixed.

Works in the public domain must be compliant with Construction, Design and Management (CDM) regulations. This document places the responsibility and a legal duty on the person organising or project managing these works for ensuring the right people are engaged on the various aspects of the work.

You will need to have evidence that the person carrying out the work is competent to use equipment required to install, maintain and remove the attachment, whether or not access to equipment inside the lighting column is needed.

Competency requirements will differ, dependant on the type of attachment, but for any attachment not requiring an electrical supply the minimum personnel competency requirements would be:

  • manual handling
  • emergency aid in the workplace for appointed persons
  • traffic management in accordance with NRWSA
  • either ladder training or Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP), as appropriate to the risk assessment and method statement (MEWP’s is preferable, as this is much safer)

For any works requiring an electrical supply the minimum competency requirements are the above, plus the following:

  • City & Guilds 2382 17 edition
  • G39 Level 1
  • Electro technical Certification Scheme (ECS) Health and Safety Assessment
  • NICEIC registration for street lighting

It is recommended that a contractor registered under the Highways Electrical Registration Scheme (HERS), which is a requirement of the National Highways Sector Scheme 8 (NHSS8), is appointed to carry out the work. Contractors registered will have obtained the appropriate competencies to carry out works on street lighting.

A list of all registered organisations can be viewed at the Highway Electrical Association website.

You will need to have evidence that Portable Appliance (PAT) testing, and also Electrical Inspection and Testing in accordance with BS7671, has been carried out for each attachment requiring an electrical supply.

Electrical connections made by removing the column access door or by drilling holes in the column door are not acceptable.

For all electricity consuming equipment, requiring an electrical connection, you will need to agree an unmetered load certificate with your local electricity company. You will then need to register this certificate with your chosen energy supplier and pay them for any electricity used. You must not assume that we will pay for the extra electricity consumption.

Failure to register may result in prosecution for theft of electricity by the supplier.

Unmetered load certification can be obtained by contacting one of the licensed distribution network operators, who will require details of the number of displays, their locations and the total wattage of each type of display, along with details of the operating hours. Please submit a copy of the Unmetered Load Certificate with your application.

Attachments which do not comply with the stated requirements will be classed as non-approved and, to protect us or Balfour Beatty from potential claims, we may request removal within 14 days.

If satisfactory removal and restoration of highway property is not undertaken we will carry out the necessary works and recharge the cost to your organisation.

Permission will not be granted in any of the following circumstances:

  • for lighting columns with litter bins and dog excrement receptacles on; consequently these may be removed without prior notice
  • where the attachment relates to any form of advertising
  • attachments that obstruct or distract from a traffic signal or highway sign

Before we grant a licence, you will need to provide evidence of insurance and indemnity for a minimum of £5 million for any one event.

The licence will indemnify us or Balfour Beatty and its employees against all losses, action, proceedings, claims, costs or damages that may arise from the installation, erection, presence, maintenance and removal of any attachment and for the correction of any defects that arise as a result of making the attachment.

A licence for a temporary installation will be for a specific period of time, not exceeding 3 months. It will not be open ended or allowed to 'roll on' to future seasons.

The licence will end when:

  • we give reasonable notice
  • the licence period of time has elapsed

Charges will be applied to your organisation if we:

  • need to remove an attachment which is considered to be hazardous or causing an obstruction
  • have to issue a notice for the removal of an attachment that becomes an obstruction to the future maintenance or replacement of the column
  • consider that satisfactory removal and restoration of highway property has not been carried out

Once the licence is terminated, all attachments must be removed to our satisfaction.

Last updated 27 December 2023