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Shopper dies after council botches street light repair

More councils are starting to view street lighting as an area where costs can be cut in order to secure wider savings.
The streetlights on the A38 close to Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham were left unrepaired and dark, despite the problem being reported to the council.

A young shopper was ploughed down on a busy stretch of road, after the local council failed to fix a set of broken streetlights. 

An inquest heard that Jamie Taylor, 25, suffered a fatal brain injury as he ‘bolted’ across the busy A38 close to Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham.

The local council had failed to act to repair the streetlights, which were reported as broken almost two weeks before the accident took place.

The poorly lit state of the road prompted a passing motorist to fail to spot Jamie, as he ran across the road after a shopping trip.

The inquest heard the lights were reported as not working on October 24 last year.

However, three street lights, along with an illuminated road sign, were still out of action when the crash happened ten days later, on the evening of November 3.

Driver Lee Weston, who was heading north on the A38 towards Lichfield, said he did not see  Taylor before there was a sudden ‘impact on my windscreen’.

As government austerity cuts continue to damage local services, more and more local authorities are choosing to neglect street lighting or shut it down completely, as an easy cost-cutting option.

It has also been noted that the lack of street lighting may make it easier for robbers to opportunistically attack homes.

Just last month it was reported that armed robbers who shot dead a rich insurance executive in his luxury rural Dorset home had hid in wait for the streetlights to go out before deciding to strike.

In this case the local council had opted to turn the streetlights off, in the early hours of the morning, in order to save costs. 

Coroner, Emma Brown, noted that she would write to Birmingham City Council demanding staff ensure all street lights in the area worked property.

More and more councils are starting to use LEDs for street lighting because of the little amount of maintenance they require and the long-life period that they offer.

She also asked for answers as to why authority officers were adamant only two lights, rather than three, were broken.