CASH-STRAPPED COUNCIL lighting engineers reacted with extreme caution this week to a 'no risk' offer from an advertising agency to help hasten replacement of corroding lampposts with up to £40M a year.
The agency claims to have invented a lightweight advertising panel suitable for mounting on any lamppost over 8m high and capable of generating up to £2,000 a year per column for the council.
'The size and location of our signs will generate maximum advertising revenue offering councils a high, no risk income, ' said Lee Arthur, general manager for marketing company Streetbroadcast.
The double sided, 70kg illuminated hoarding, measuring 1.8m high by 1.2m wide, is clamped 3m up on any standard column. Its patented fixing allows the sign to swing sideways like a weather vane whenever wind speeds exceed 25m/s and revolve back at lower speeds.
But lighting engineers contacted by NCE remained sceptical, stressing that even new columns had slender safety margins for live loading and were not designed to carry any additional street furniture.
'I am always wary about getting something for nothing and would want column manufacturers to guarantee in writing that their post remained safe before I added anything to it, ' said chief lighting engineer for Lincolnshire County Council, Bob Dutton, who replaces 2,000 of the county's 50,000 columns every year.
Nationally about 10% of the country's 7M lampposts are said to be in urgent need of replacement due largely to corrosion.
Councils currently spend £50M a year on a problem costed at £500M.