Lampposts are a familiar part of the "street furniture" in the mostly urban environment of the United Kingdom. However, in the 21st century, there seem to be a few technological changes afoot. In other countries, notably on Scandanavia, there is a move towards lampposts which are designed to buckle and absorb the impact energy of any vehicles which hit them, reducing deaths and injuries. Various suppliers are now starting to offer Light Emitting Diode streetlighting which is as energy efficient as conventional incandescent or fluorescent or sodium vapour lightbulbs, but which lasts many times longer, thereby reducing the maintenance costs, and therefore the overall annual running costs.
However, in the United Kingdom, public sector technology innovations for the humble lamppost eschew vehicle safety or energy conservation, they seeem to be far more interested in extending the matrix of mass surveillance systems.
This piggybacks on the Wireless City infrastructure of WiFi CCTV cameras attached to lampposts, first unveiled in and around Soho Square over a year ago. at the time the Westminster Council press releases talked of CCTV cameras, car parking warden handheld computer communications, allegedly cheap "WiFi phone" communications for council staff, and "environmental monitoring".
"Environmental monitoring" was assumed to be air pollution monitoring, but apparently it also involves the much more targeted surveilleance of individual premises suspected of breaching the noise pollution rules. Note the scaremongering headlines in the media, which, by using the word microphones give the impression that actual converstions are at risk of being snooped on, rather than just the volume of noise being reported.
It is quite arrogant of the local government bureaucrats to assume that WiFi wireless local area network technology is somehow suitable for these purposes. Remember, that WiFi uses the Industrial Scientific Medical "licence free" radio spectrum allocation around 2.4GHz. This is not a monopoly for dedicated public authority purposes, anybody and everybody as entitled to make use of this radio frequency band as Westminster Council is, and ther can be no legal process for resolving any disputes about radio interference from other legal WiFi access points and devices, as well as passing Bluetooth equipped mobile phones (which also use the same frequencies, though with very different signal modulation and data protocols).
Lampposts are already set to be used by a competing data network which is being set up by the Department of Transport, which is notorious for its well honed procedures for supressing and nullifying any local protest groups. This National Roads Telecommunications Services Project also aims to sell fast internet access to commercial providers, but has the added danger to privvacy and possibly to public health of using data links between lammposts in the Millimetre Wave part of the spectrum as used by various "see through your children's clothes" or "snoop through the walls of your home or office" surveillance technologies.
Lampposts are also being used to hang Communist style slogan boxes, which use passive infrared motion detectors activate pointless and intrusive recorded announcements of official slogans at passing pedestrians. e.g. the Surrey Police "Remember to not to leave any valuables in your parked car" nonsense.