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parallaxerr

What would you do about this street lamp?

22 posts in this topic

A lane runs along the end of my back garden which is lit by streetlamps, two of which cast light into the garden, one of which is (sometimes) causing me an issue with observing.

The majority of the lamps in the village, including the ones I’m talking about here, have the “This lamp turns off at 2200” sticker on them. The, what I will call “good” lamp, sticks to a pretty accurate timing coming on in the morning around 0630 and going off between 0700-0730. In the evening it comes on again at 1700-1730 and goes off at between 2200-2300. It’s a pain that sometimes it goes off at 2300 not 2200, but I can be sure it will go off eventually.

The “bad” lamp timing however, is all over the shop and, of the two, casts the most light into the garden. I submitted an online form to the council, which offers only a drop down box to highlight the fault, so I selected “timer fault”. 2 weeks later I got a brief e-mail response saying “no fault found”. Since then I have kept a little log of what’s going on with the lamps with a view to calling the council to let them know exactly how the fault manifests itself.

Over a period of 14 days, I have observed the following behaviour of the “bad” lamp:

On 2 nights it did not illuminate at all

One night it followed a similar pattern to the good lamp, give or take 1/2hr (approx. 1730-2230)

On 7 nights it was on for varying periods between 1-6hrs between the hours of 1700-2300

On 4 nights it was illuminated all night until the following morning

It feels as though it’s a problem more often than not, perhaps due to coinciding with decent observing weather. Also, the council are slowly replacing the sodium bulbs with LED’s which may make matters worse, I find the glare from the LED lamps significantly worse than sodium.

So, 30% of the time the lamp is on all night and really spoils observing sessions. The rest of the time it either matches the timing of the “good” lamp or even better, goes off early or doesn't come on at all. In this scenario I can start observing earlier as the “good” lamp casts less light.

What would you do? Live with the 30% chance of a spoiled session or push to get the timer fixed?

 

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If the Council can't/won't help I would contact your local councillor first and then MP.

Peter

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If you believe the light is faulty you should report it to your local council and supply a copy of the log. If the problem persists contact your local councilor .

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Note to members reading this thread:

Don't suggest any illegal methods of "fixing" the light.

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A photograph of garden and lamp positioning would help people proposing workarounds. 👍🏻

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13 minutes ago, Cornelius Varley said:

Note to members reading this thread:

Don't suggest any illegal methods of "fixing" the light.

beat me to it peter :icon_biggrin:

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OK so a few suggestions about how to get the lamp fixed by contacting council & councillors and mention of workarounds but that's not the point. I'm prepared to push if I decide I want it fixed.

The question is whether or not you'd live with it's current timing, with a 30% chance of a spoiled session, but sometimes preferable timing when it switches off early or doesn't come on at all. Or, get it fixed and have to wait until 11pm to observe?

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The request to not make illegal fixes to the lamp also applies to comments made as a joke. We will hide such posts.

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1 minute ago, Cornelius Varley said:

The request to not make illegal fixes to the lamp also applies to comments made as a joke. We will hide such posts.

Uh oh! My bad! Sorry! 

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35 minutes ago, parallaxerr said:

The question is whether or not you'd live with it's current timing, with a 30% chance of a spoiled session, but sometimes preferable timing when it switches off early or doesn't come on at all. Or, get it fixed and have to wait until 11pm to observe?

I think this has to be down to your personal preference. If it were me, I would prefer to get it fixed, so I knew when it would be on/off, but I don't have a permanent set-up and putting everything out only to discover I was going to have a ruined session would be a right pain. That said, my local friendly streetlight is on all night anyway, so I have learned to work round it.

Another thought (and you have probably already had it) is can you set up some sort of 'interference' between you and the light, so it is not shining directly on you? If possible, that might be easier than trying to get a council to do something about it.

When it comes to 'pushing' to get it fixed, I would adopt a very strong approach which, although not illegal, would cause people to deal with the problem rapidly - like phoning your councillor at 2am to tell them the light which should be off *now* is still on and causing a nuisance. But that's just me.

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I phoned up the council one day about exactly the same problem I have with a light, explained what I do and what I needed done, it was fixed the next morning with a shade that stopped sideways and upwards light, the shade is still there six years later.  Happy really as I am reopening my garden observatory :)

The offending light with shade
(2).JPG

Jim

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How far away are the actual council offices or the section that deal with the street lights?

Thoughts are that an email is easy but impersonel. A visit to see a real living breathing person could possibly get a better result. Also you have then the chance to ask about a possible change to the timer and even just mention, jovially, in passing if they actually need to have it illuminated at all.

In this day of everything being electronic it might be that a personel friendly visit proves better.

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1 hour ago, parallaxerr said:

The question is whether or not you'd live with it's current timing

I'd suggest as others have of talking to your local councillor(s) and write to the chief executive. Does the light cause sleep problems for anyone in a bedroom 'affected' by the light? At least if the lamp is working as it ought you can better plan your observing/imaging around it. How leds will complicate things in the future is a hard call to make but you will still know they will be off at a certain hour. To put things into more perspective our led street lights (new lights in old posts and timers) can't be turned down/turned off so they burn on long and bright all night.

Hope you get a solution that works for you.

Cheers,
Steve

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1 minute ago, SteveNickolls said:

can't be turned down/turned off so they burn on long and bright all night.

Oh dear that doesn't bode well. I'll have to look out to see if the current LED's down the street go off at night. If not, I wonder why they "can't" be turned off?

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2 hours ago, parallaxerr said:

On 4 nights it was illuminated all night until the following morning

 

 

 

 

 

Jon, you must be very tired!

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3 minutes ago, Alkaid said:

Jon, you must be very tired!

Haha, well if it's on at 11pm when I go to bed, on at 3am when I go for a pee and still on at 6am when I get up for work, I can only assume it's been on all night!

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Tell them it wakes your kids/grandkids  where minors are involved  holds more clout .

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Is the local Council the Lighting authority ? if it is not, you need to address the problem direct with whoever it is. With respect to all public lighting, authorities have a duty of care where there is confliction with public lighting with the any householder, or frontagers to the public highway, where it is considered the light is causing nuisance.

You do not state whether the PL`s  are on your side of the lane, if so, some shading installed by the lighting authority, may be able to help with the problem. In any case you need to set up a meeting, if it can be arranged, with one of the lighting authorities engineers. If LED units are scheduled for the near future, you will be in a worse state, so you will need act on this straight away. If you can get the support of your local Councillor and MP often helps matters. Don`t forget councils are working to very tight budgets and these days have to watch every penny they spend, in this respect they may ask you for some financial input, if there is a way to resolve the problem, which in my view, would be the installation of two decent modern Solar time switches :)

 

 

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Best of luck getting resolved - definitely pursue it rather than putting up.

I'm jealous of the apparently progressive attitude to LP in the UK where at least notionally the lights get switched off in the middle of the night!  Thats really good. Also that the fact that there is an on-line facility to report faults, which in some cases elicits a prompt response! Add to that the installation of shades on request... Wow.

Not so lucky here in Ireland where I live: beyond lunar/planets, I get in the car, thinking of a scene from 'The General' as I drive off :/

Edited by niallk

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You are rural I would be more concerned with insuring the new LED installs you mention will have the dark sky approved LED lamp heads on them. Live now with what is happening but make sure what arrives next is better.

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2 hours ago, parallaxerr said:

I wonder why they "can't" be turned off?

When I queried this with the county council it was because they were only replacing lamp standards when they were necessary from an age or damage perspective. New standards can be fitted with timer controls.

Cheers,
steve

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Just to give you an idea of what happened with me, firstly the lane in question goes down to a sheltered accommodation and the lights are on all night.  Secondly and the more important part, the lane lighting belongs to Lowestoft Council but they do not have the equipment to maintain them so it falls to Suffolk District Council to repair them as necessary.  As soon as I had all the information available I got straight through to the relevant office, had a nice chat with the person concerned with the lights there and as said before I knew it the problem has been resolved.  On point I will make, as it is a sheltered area the lights stay on all night unlike the roads around which switch off at midnight.

Jim 

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