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Lamp post check stepped up

WESTMINSTER COUNCIL is examining 2,000 more lamp columns in central London, following the near-fatal collapse of a post earlier this month.

The decision comes amid calls from senior lighting engineers for checks to be carried out on thousands of ornate steel lamp posts nationwide.

The 46 year old, 10m high posts in areas including Whitehall and Parliament Square, are a different design to the column which collapsed in Cavendish Square seriously injuring a pedestrian. But they feature the same style of cast iron decorative skirt, blamed for concealing corrosion at the base of the post.

Rust was hidden behind the surrounding non-structural cast iron decorative sleeve which effectively sat on the pavement. This same type of skirt exists in 1800 'Grey Wornum' circular posts erected to commemorate the 1952 Festival of Britain. These are now being checked in streets around the Houses of Parliament.

Institution of Lighting Engineers president Clive Lane urged councils to check all 2M columns around the country that are over 30 years old.

'I know of at least 20 columns of varying design that have collapsed this year during or soon after high winds. By spending less than a fifth of the £100M a year we need for column replacement, this worsening crisis is now becoming dangerous,' he said.

David Hayward

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