People in Herefordshire have been assured that the county will not be affected by the rising cost of street lighting and pothole repairs this winter.

The Local Government Association said last week that the cost of street lighting and fixing potholes has “soared” recently, with councils already having to deal with a 37.5 per cent increase in the cost of running and repairing street lights over the last six months, and a 22 per cent increase in the cost of pothole repair and other road maintenance.

But Herefordshire Council and neighbouring authorities jointly own a purchasing group, West Mercia Energy (WME), which buys up energy years in advance, protecting the councils from energy price volatility.

“Whilst we are experiencing price rises, due to the benefit of our flexible purchasing model we have already secured prices significantly below the current market prices for the next two years,” a Herefordshire Council spokesperson said.

“In addition, we are four years into a five-year fixed price offer for street lighting energy, through WME which has protected our street light energy prices against the current market conditions,” he explained.

“Although we expect a large price rise next financial year, we have carefully managed this with WME to ensure these are also significantly under the current market prices.”


The council’s spokesperson also offered reassurances on pothole repairs.

“We have been advised that there will be cost pressures on highway maintenance from October, but our long-term contracts with Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) have protected the council from extreme cost rises,” he said.

There have also been assurances that the county’s Christmas lights displays are not under threat from surging energy costs.

Leominster town clerk Julie Debbage said: “We changed to low-energy LED lighting some years ago and our electricity costs are fixed until March 2023, so do not anticipate a large increase in energy costs for the Christmas lights this year.”

However, the town council will review timings of displays to see if any savings can be made at a meeting later this month, she added.

Bromyard’s Christmas lights are the responsibility of an independent Christmas Lights Association, helped by a £4,000 donation each year from the town council. “As far as I’m aware they are still planning to carry on as usual this year,” town clerk Karen Mitchell said.

Ross-on-Wye town clerk Sarah Robson said: “There are no plans in the pipeline to scale back on Christmas lights this year.”

Kington town clerk Liz Kelso explained that the town switched to low-energy lights on environmental grounds last year, “so the impact (of rising energy costs) will be less”.

“Much of our display last year, and planned for this year, involves non-illuminated elements,” she added.

“The display was very well received last year so we’re looking forward to building on this for the current year.”

Ledbury town clerk Angie Price said the town council “will continue to monitor the cost of electricity, but has not made any plans to reduce or stop the provision of Christmas lights in the town”.

Indeed it has “taken on board comments from residents last year and is making arrangements for increased lights this year”.

Hereford City Council has said a new lighting contract “takes advantage of savings from using low-energy technology and will be more cost-effective than previous iterations, resulting in no increase to the cost of the Christmas lights”.

This story was amended at 1pm on September 7 to include comment from Hereford City Council