Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Local authorities spend almost £1bn a year on street furniture and street lighting

The total market for street furniture, which covers a wide range of end use sectors, is estimated at around £350m according to a brand new report by AMA Research on the street furniture and lighting market in the UK.

The report is focused on the local authorities sector, which is estimated to account for 80% of the market, and covers the supply of a range of products used in public urban locations including: benches & seats, bins, bollards and barriers, planters, posts and rails, cycle stands etc.

In overall terms, the market is split between more ‘routine’ items, which need to be regularly replaced because of damage, and new development projects like town centre regeneration or housing developments where new items will be installed. Bollards/barriers represent the largest sector with a share of around 30%, with benches/seats and cycle stands also accounting for a significant share. Cycle stands are the fastest growing sector reflecting local authorities' response to the growing popularity of cycling among all age groups.

Local authorities have a major influence on choice and specification of product, reflecting their budgetary responsibilities. Products like bollards and barriers are essential items which will be used to manage highway traffic requirements, but other products like planters will be discretionary and primarily used for decorative purposes.

Street furniture is manufactured from a wide variety of materials, which includes stainless steel, cast iron, wood, concrete and plastic. As a result, the supply structure is fragmented with a large number of companies supplying different street furniture products using many types of materials – often providing both bespoke and standard products.

The UK street lighting market is estimated to be worth at least £600 million, with an estimated 8.2 million street lights in total. Around half of the total market is spent on energy, with around a third spent on maintenance and the remainder on new projects.

Around a quarter of all lighting columns in the UK are older than 30 years and, to keep pace with natural deterioration, a significant number of columns need to be replaced each year as a large share of columns are concrete which tends to deteriorate over time.

The street lighting market in the UK is predominantly driven by demand from local authorities or their term maintenance contractors who are the largest purchasers and specifiers of street lighting. Local authorities are responsible for urban street lighting, and the responsible authority will either undertake the work themselves, or more likely employ a specialist lighting contractor on a contract basis or entering into a long term PFI contract.

There is an ever increasing focus on reducing energy costs within this sector and operators are switching to new technologies which offer substantial reductions in energy costs and more sophisticated controls. However, considerable investment is required and there is an increasing involvement by the private sector to provide the investment.

“There has been a move from the public sector maintaining highways towards involvement of the private sector” said Andrew Hartley, Director of AMA Research. “Some 50% of authorities in UK use term maintenance contractors and there has been a steady move towards private involvement.”

Future prospects for the street furniture and street lighting sectors are mixed, reflecting a mix of local authority budget cuts and ongoing demand to improve and upgrade the urban environment.

The Street Furniture and Lighting Market Report – UK 2014-2018 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.

1 comment:

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