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Street furniture

Street furniture found on our roads and pavements are items like street lights, traffic lights, street nameplates, public seats/benches, traffic and direction signs, guard rails, bollards.

Report damaged street furniture

Report damaged street furniture 

Or, contact the Highways Helpdesk on 01234 718003.

Street lighting 

You can report problems with:

  • street lights
  • traffic lights
  • pedestrian crossings
  • illuminated bollards

The more information you can give us the better ie light out altogether, going on/off, burning all day, intermittent.

Report a faulty street light 

If you are reporting problems with temporary traffic lights at roadwork sites, please provide us with as much information as possible so that we can chase the relevant owner.

Street lighting faults take 10 working days to fix from the date of our reply.

If there is a problem on the electricity cable feeding the column, notification is sent to the utility company who usually attend within 28 days of receiving the report. Unfortunately the utility who owns the supply cables have a monopoly on their services, therefore their service levels cannot always be ensured.

Report a damaged street nameplate

Report a damaged street nameplate here. Please include the following information:

  • The location/name of the street nameplate
  • The Parish in which the street is located
  • Your name and contact details
  • The nature of the damage to the street nameplate

Report damaged street nameplate 

Or, contact the Highways Helpdesk on 01234 718003.

Once reported, an officer will inspect the site to verify the problem. Following a decision to replace the street nameplate, the process may take up to three weeks to complete. Unfortunately, the service only has a limited budget, and the replacement of street nameplates may need to be prioritised in terms of greatest need.

Please remember that if the problem is not reported to us, we will not know about it and the street nameplate will not be replaced.

Highways Helpdesk
Customer Service Centre
2 Horne Lane
MK40 1RA

Advertising on street furniture

Any advertising sign fixed to lampposts and other street 'furniture' may be illegal. Generally these are removed by the Council. The Council will only allow black on yellow signs to be erected in approved locations on the highway.

These serve a purpose to restrict vehicular and pedestrian movement. Bollards are commonly found on grass verges to protect them being driven over by vehicles.

Our favoured solution, if action is deemed necessary, is to erect plastic or wooden bollards depending on the locality, although this has to be weighed against the severity of the damage and the potential to move the problem to another location.

Bollards are also used to prohibit entry into certain roads and passageways.


Benches are found near to areas where pedestrian footfall is expected such as our River Embankment and in the pedestrian areas of Bedford Town Centre. We aim to use designs and styles to suit the environment. 

Rural parishes purchase their own public seats/benches. Some parishes will maintain furniture as well as bins. You may contact them in the first instance. Alternatively contact the Highways Helpdesk.

Guard rails and fencing

Fencing on the highway is installed to prevent access, to protect the travelling public or to control the movement of pedestrians.

The Borough Council is not responsible for fences that adjoin the highway. This fencing belongs to the adjoining land owners:

There are three types of fencing in the public highway:

1. Post and rail fencing of areas of highway

Post and rail fencing is installed to prevent or control access to areas of highway. Typical examples are on disused or controlled areas of highway such as chipping stores, where vehicular access is prohibited or restricted.

2. Pedestrian Fences and Guardrails

Pedestrian fences and guard rails are primarily used in urban areas or large villages. They are installed at junctions and sections of road to guide pedestrians to appropriate crossing points. They are also used on footways to guide users from potential hazards e.g. at rear of footways where a ditch is behind.

3. Safety Fencing

Safety Fencing is used at the following locations:
  • on dual carriageway central reserves
  • around bridge parapets on high speed roads
  • at railway bridges identified by risk assessment as requiring anti-incursion fencing
  • where roads rise above the surrounding ground level by more than 6 metres

Sign posts and signs

There is a risk that motorists will be overwhelmed by too much information and also that undue “clutter” is caused to the highway, by the uncontrolled erection of highway signing. For these reasons new signs will only be provided where absolutely necessary, and any redundant signs and posts will be promptly removed.

Also it may be possible to combine a new sign with others on an existing post, or possibly the sign could be erected onto an existing street lighting column.

New traffic signs will normally only be provided under the following circumstances:

  • Where specifically recommended following an accident or local safety study.
  • In conjunction with improvements or alterations to the road network.
  • Where existing signing is misleading or insufficient and there is evidence of this causing confusion to motorists.

When the decision is taken to install a new sign, it will be designed and installed in accordance with the requirements and guidance given in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002.

Care will be taken in the positioning, design size and mounting of signs to ensure their operational safety, and that the environmental impact is kept to a minimum consistent with the road safety and traffic management needs.

Although in many circumstances illuminated signs are mandatory, the use of high–reflectivity, non–illuminated, signs can bring benefits in terms of sustainability. This is the preferred option and will be a consideration both for new signs and for the replacement of existing signs.

Bus stops and shelters

Bus stop poles are usually provided by the Borough Council. Before any new bus stop poles are erected, or existing bus stop locations moved, or bus stop shelters are erected, the proposed site is inspected by representatives of Bedfordshire Highways and the Police.

Timetable cases and the stop flags (signs) are either provided by the bus company or the Borough Council depending on the location and the service provider.

Town and Parish Councils are responsible for the supply and maintenance of bus shelters, although they may arrange this by using private companies. Any damage seen to bus shelters should be reported to the Clerk of the relevant Town or Parish or by contacting the Borough Council’s Highways Helpline.

The Borough Council wishes to simplify the responsibilities for bus stops and we are currently working towards new arrangements that will make the Borough Council responsible for all bus stop furniture

Floral tributes and memorials

We have a policy regarding floral tributes and memorials (PDF) which are placed on the highway. This ensures respectful management of issues whilst maintaining road safety and appropriate highway maintenance.

Exposed wires

If the cover plate at the base of the lamp column has been removed and wires are exposed, we will attend within two hours to make safe.

Leaning or damaged lamps

Bedford Borough Council Highways will come out to assess the damage and then determine how urgent the job is.

Street lighting improvements

All changes including improvement requests will be considered by Bedford Borough Council Highways and prioritised accordingly. We take into account age and condition of the existing installation along with the light output. However, all considerations are budget led.

Other ways to report a fault:

Phone: 01234 718003
Highways reporting
Email: Highways Helpdesk
Customer Service Centre
2 Horne Lane
MK40 1RA

Read our street lighting policy document (PDF).

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