Green traffic lights are always a welcome sight for motorists, but a recent development in Milton Keynes has led to fears they could soon be few and far between.
According to a spokesperson from Milton Keynes Council, a set of traffic lights in the town has run out of green bulbs – and there are not currently any replacements available.
No new green bulbs for 20 years
The problem first came to light at the end of October this year, when a motorist complained that a green light had failed on Northfield Roundabout, the MK Citizen reported.
Although they were assured the problem had been fixed, this in fact was not the case and the light remained out.
Now, upon further investigation by the BBC, it has emerged that the supply of replacement bulbs for this and similar green lights has run out.
A spokesperson for the council admitted the lights require “specialist” bulbs, which were discontinued some time ago and have not been manufactured for the past 20 years in the UK.
To act as a stopgap, the local authority has been forced to use a bulb from a traffic light that is no longer in use. However, this is clearly not a long-term solution and won’t work if other green light bulbs start to go out, as they might if they are a similar age.
“We are currently looking at a new system to replace these outdated [bulbs], which will be starting in the new year,” the council spokesperson told the BBC.
The news is sure to cause some red faces in Milton Keynes, as it was chosen in 2017 as the first location for smart traffic lights that can detect traffic volumes and alter their patterns accordingly.
Let’s hope they don’t operate using the same bulbs as the traditional lights.
Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, comments: “It just goes to show why it’s important to keep innovating on our roads, rather than using the same old tools. However, we can’t help but wonder why no one noticed ‘the cupboard was bare’ before the lights started to go out in Milton Keynes.”