Mad plan to switch off street lights to cut electricity bill

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Brian
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Mad plan to switch off street lights to cut electricity bill

Post by Brian »

From The Mirror 23 March.

Stockport, Greater Manchester.

" A hard-up council needs to save £10million and wants to cut costs by turning off every other street light between 12.30am and 5am"


http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories ... _page.html

"DIM LIGHT PLAN SPARKS FEARS
Mad plan to switch off street lights to cut electricity bills
A CRAZY scheme to switch off street lights to save cash has sparked fears that crime and road accidents will soar. "

Even their MP is "appalled".

Abandon hope all ye...........?
Brian
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A
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Post by A »

Hi

Not only will they have a crime spree, but frogs will fall from
sky and the four horsemen of the apocalypse will appear
and wreak death and destruction upon the residents
of the borough.
With all that mess, its no wonder that the local MP is
appalled.

GordonCopestake
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Post by GordonCopestake »

If only I could get my council to turn off all the street lights around my house. I promise not to be "appalled"

Paul Sutherland
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Post by Paul Sutherland »

There is a fuller report here in the local Manchester daily. It includes a poll and a request for readers' comments. So if anyone feels like putting them right on lighting and safety and that MP's silly comments, feel free.

Paul

A
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Post by A »

Hi Paul

Thanks for the link. I will be having a word with the MP.
I have a street light in front of my house and my neighbour
and I , both have to park our cars under it.
Over the last two years we have had ours cars vandalised
and broken into on six occassions.
From my experience, the more lights you have; just
makes it easier for the criminals.

Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Brian, Paul, Gordon and "A"
I will be interested to see how this proposal to switch off some Stockport street lights works out.
Going back to when I worked in local government (more years back than I like to talk about) my recollection is that the street lights were not individually metered. The council paid electricity costs on the basis of total number of streetlights.
I initially found this out because I expressed concerns related to wasted electricity when some streetlights lights appeared to lit up all day usually as a result of faulty cut off devices).
The council and its engineers seemed to have little concern or interest about the problem because it did result in them having to pay increased electricity costs.
At about that time I also noticed that a 15 kilometre stretch of the M62 motorway the lighting was on all day for a period of at least three months. When I had contacted the Highways Agency about that problem and was told they were actually already aware of it.
I mention those issues because although local authorities and highway agency agreements with electricity suppliers about payment of electricity charges might have changed in recent years, if they have not then I think the matter of turning off Stockports street-lights between 00:30 and 05:30 or whatever could get complicated.
We already know that some politicians and very definitely electricity suppliers have jaundiced over hyped ideas about lighting. Of course these days everyone is supposed to have concerns about the environment . However, I think the power suppliers are more interested in how much profit they can make and politians have various complicated vested interests such as the popular vote plus other unspecifiable dubious benefits they might get.
If Stockport does turn of some of its street-lights I think there will be strong forces at work trying to make sure the experiment does not work and certainly does reduce the electricity companies profits or other unidentifiable peoples dubious profits.
Best of luck from Cliff

Paul Sutherland
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Post by Paul Sutherland »

If you look at the readers' comments left on the Manchester Evening News story (link above) plus the story in their sister paper the Stockport Express here you will see that the vast majority of comments are against the council's plan. Sad but true. They clearly don't understand that the security from bright lighting is illusory.
I left a comment to try to balance things on the MEN story. Was rather hoping a few others might do so to help redress the balance. I think it helps to be succinct, Cliff. ;-)

Paul

Deimos
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Post by Deimos »

I live in France and I’ve noticed around me certainly some villages turn off their street lights late at night. Actually took me by surprise as one night I was driving home late through my nearest village, then realised what was “wrongâ€

Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Hi (I checked "succinct" in my dictionary before going ton bed last night) Paul
Being a TV news addict I rarely get newspapers although I buy too many astronomy magazines.
For quite a while, up to a couple of years ago, I often wrote to our local rag mostly complaining about some dispicable commercial planning proposal or other.
Perhaps surprisingly the rag printed my letters pretty well in full.
Only one letter was not published.
I did though a few years back once contact the Manchester Evening News about a light pollution problem on the fairly remote Pennine Moors. A reporter put me in my place by informing me that the MEN fully understood light pollution. I suppose their idea of a fair balanced opinion was to print nothing.
Best wishes from Cliff
PS. Despite my numerous local rag letters, I reckon 95% of the commercial developments I expressed concern about were built.
The CfDS has done a fine job but sadly after two decades it seems that still the larger proportion of supposed amateur astronomers (20,000 perhaps in the UK, although maybe only 2,000 are observers, possibly as few as 200 depending on the criteria) do not really seem concerned much about light pollution.
When I reached 70 I decided to take a more laid back approach to these issues myself.
After all amongst other things the huge Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank is floodlit out in the Cheshire countryside. From what I gathered no astronomers who attended the televised BBC Star Party at Jodrell seemed bothered about the floodlighting. In fact the few I have spoken to who attended ther event seemed to think the floodlighting enhanced the Star Party.
That seems a perplexing attitude to me and the very strong lighting fraternity must find it amusing.
As I have said before I suspect the best hope of significantly reducing light pollution is likely to be an energy crisis and\or slump in the economy.
Meanwhile I will probably be telling the home help to set up my telescope. After that perhaps the Old folks Home will get use of the Faulkes Telescope instead of the schools full of unruly kids.
Beyond that perhaps there is the possibility of those who were good in their lifetime having their own space telescope.
Pity I probably will not qualify.
Makes me feel like a Grumpy Old Codger again!

r0b
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Re: Mad plan to switch off street lights to cut electricity

Post by r0b »

Brian wrote:From The Mirror 23 March.

Stockport, Greater Manchester.

" A hard-up council needs to save £10million and wants to cut costs by turning off every other street light between 12.30am and 5am"


http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories ... _page.html

"DIM LIGHT PLAN SPARKS FEARS
Mad plan to switch off street lights to cut electricity bills
A CRAZY scheme to switch off street lights to save cash has sparked fears that crime and road accidents will soar. "

Even their MP is "appalled".

Abandon hope all ye...........?
This occurred to me this evening whilst out driving, that there are/must be many places where every other street lamp could be switched off as the light cast from adjacent lamps would most certainly provide adequate illumination. What I was wondering though, is there some regulation or standard for the spacing of street lamps, as this appears to vary from place to place?

Rob

Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Rob
Highway Code (2000)
"Speed Limits
You MUST NOT exceed the maximum speed limits for the road............
Streetlights usually mean there is a 30 mph speed limit unless there are signs showing another limit."
In the good old days I think I recall the general rule was that in built up areas if there were street lights at regular intervals ( 180 feet spacing comes to mind) then there was an automatic 30 mph speed limit in built up areas.
Things are more complicated now of course with road lighting on many rural highways and motorways.
furthermore street lighting is now more sophisticated.
My understanding is that highway authorities and local authorities are required to provide such services as street lighting and are expected to comply with recommended standards (although I suspect the legal requirements are less rigid).
In the good old days street lighting was pretty basic but in these days the matter is more complicated. Even so the local authority still have get outs.
I understand there was a landmark legal case about 1910ish.
In Glossop, Derbyshire a man walking along a footpath fell at a place where that path joined a road and a street light (actually a gas light!) at that location was not lit. The injured man tried to sue the local council on the basis that he had the accident because the light was out, but the council won the case. Although that case was many years ago I believe that legal ruling still held in the early 1990's and I suspect still holds good now.
If someone crashed a car at a point on a road where a street light was not working, I doubt the driver would get very far in trying to blame the council for the accident on the grounds of the not lit street light. I suspect the best the driver could hope would be that if he got done for the accident he could ask for the unlit streetlight to be taken in mitigation.
With regards the matter of a town council turning off every other street light in their town I suspect there could be legal wranglings involved. I would hesitate to say exactly what the outcome would be. If a council decided to say turn off every other streetlight in one (or two streets) I am again not sure what the outcome would be. I cannot help thinking that generally it might be easier to get new street lights erected than get rid of old ones. Although perhaps now councils are getting a bit more concerned about such extravagances.
Best of luck from Cliff

A
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Re: Mad plan to switch off street lights to cut electricity

Post by A »

What I was wondering though, is there some regulation or standard for the spacing of street lamps, as this appears to vary from place to place?

Rob
Hi

Yes, a length of road near me has just had 4 lights replaced
by 14.

Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear "A"
Yes, I am afraid that is the way of things with regards the lighting fraternity. Better lighting is their desire and that also inevitably means more and brighter. And of course the general populace also want it as well.
I worked as a civil engineer mostly highways for 40 years and had many dealings with streetlighting engineers. I have been retired now a decade so I am by no means up to date with current standards. However, about 18 months back I (as an amateur astronomer- there were two of us) attended a meeting organised by the Institution of Lighting engineers which was actually organised by a chap I had worked with for a few years at one time. In his opening remarks he said something like "God said let there be light!". Light pollution was actually on the agenda. Although a few two of the 40 No plus lighting engineers expressed some concerns about light pollution, it was not considered a major issue.
Indeed one lighting expert was advocating that at least one street light should be erected at lonely bus stops way out in the countryside.
As you say the trend seems to still be to provide more and more lighting.
When I worked for Salford City Council in the early 1990s I recall there were then about 5 million streetlights in the UK increasing at the rate of abot 10% per annum, there then being about 20,000 streetlights in Salford. There are ten such districts in the Greater Manchester area (Stockport being one), so in the early 1990s there were probably roughly 200,000 street lights in Greater Manchester. Even assuming that the rate of rate of increase in street lights is slowing down there is another factor. Streetlights are getting brighter. Ironically JOE Public seems to think the increased brightness is entirely achuieved by more efficient "street light bulbs" nobody seems to appreciate that 9in the main they use more electricity as well.
Although the lighting fraternity claim their newer lights cause less light pollution, I think the truth of the matter is that more and more brighter streetlights causes more light pollution.
My own attitude is to just keep on observing as long as I can there are other problems besides light pollution for me to contend with.
Best of luck from Cliff

Jothebulb
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Post by Jothebulb »

I work as a lighting designer (mostly indoors, but floodlighting and exterior lighting as well) and get just as annoyed by anyone here when I see poor lighting schemes. However, to suggest that the all-powerful 'lighting fraternity' have no interest in doing anything differently isn't true. Among my generation of younger designers we are very interested in efficiency and the control of pollution.

Light pollution occurs as a result of poor scheme design, either because the scheme designer has either used the wrong equipment, or in the wrong way, or frankly, both. I know, I've seen it. But, there is a strong public perception that better lighting leads to a safer and more pleasant environment. What we have to do is to make sure we direct and control it better.

However to make general comments like 'they use more electricity' is not accurate, and doesn't help you argue a case effectively. As one example I could cite, Dundee city replaced some of its older low-pressure sodium lamps with fluorescent fixtures. The net result was a saving of around 30% in energy costs, a more efficient scheme and a better lighting and colour performance.

As a society, you are right to keep up the pressure, but you will find that some designers are listening. It might be because they are astronomers, too!

Jonathan

A
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Post by A »

Hi Jonathan

Nice to hear from a lighting designer, always good to get both
sides of a discussion. I must admit, that over the last 5 years
our local council has started to do a lot towards fitting much
better lighting designs. I have even written to them on several
occassions to say well done and keep it up.

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