How tall is a street light in the UK

One question we often get asked by clients is how tall is a street light on the road outside of our proposed development. The street lighting column heights in the UK are generally standard heights when adopted by the councils and would either be 5, 6, 8, 10 or 12m heights. Some authorities use 7m heights if they are being looked after by a PFI, but these are less common.

As a general rule, typical heights used in roads could be as below

Residential Road  – 5 and 6m mounting height

Residential distributor/primary road – 8m mounting height

Trunk Road – 10m mounting height

If a client has a scheme where they are proposing to alter the existing lighting outside of their development, knowing the heights of lighting columns would be required to produce a section 278 lighting design.

The height of the street lighting column is driven by the road width and the required brightness of the carriageway. As these requirements increase, you generally require a taller lighting column. As the height of the column increased, the throw of light is improved helping the street lighting consultant achieve the British Standard requirements they are trying to achieve.

Currently we measure the heights of lighting columns during a street lighting site survey using a height measuring tool. This enables us to be very accurate and avoid guessing. A height measuring tool works by the operative pointing the laser device at a flat section of the lantern, once the beam bounces back to the device, it will give you an accurate height reading of the lighting column. My current personal preference is a Bosch height measuring tool, as shown below as I find them to be extremely accurate.

When I was undertaking site surveys 20 years ago, measuring the heights of the lighting columns was more difficult. Before electronic height measuring tools were readily available, the height of the column was determined by the experience of the engineer. Depending on your surrounds (Rural of Urban) could make it more difficult to accurately determine the height of the column.

To contact MMA Lighting Consultancy about how we can assist with your projects and if you specifically require a section 38 lighting design, section 278 lighting design or private lighting design please follow one of the below links and one of our engineers will get back to you as quickly as possible.


Telephone: 0118 321 5636