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Street lights and persuading local authorities to dim them


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I live in a village with several hundred inhabitants. There are two street lights outside my house at right angles. If the house plot is a square, there are two roads at right angles that run along two sides of the square. The local authority refuse either to turn off or dim the lights for part of the night. They maintain that the intersection of the roads is a “conflict area” and that lighting cannot be reduced due to traffic risk.

There is no hard definition of a conflict area. The judgement comes down to traffic volumes. Neither of the roads is a main one - they are just access roads. Late at night and early in the morning road usage is light because nearly everyone is asleep.

Has anyone on the forum had any success persuading local authorities to reduce light pollution in this type of situation?

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1 hour ago, woldsman said:

I live in a village with several hundred inhabitants. There are two street lights outside my house at right angles. If the house plot is a square, there are two roads at right angles that run along two sides of the square. The local authority refuse either to turn off or dim the lights for part of the night. They maintain that the intersection of the roads is a “conflict area” and that lighting cannot be reduced due to traffic risk.

There is no hard definition of a conflict area. The judgement comes down to traffic volumes. Neither of the roads is a main one - they are just access roads. Late at night and early in the morning road usage is light because nearly everyone is asleep.

Has anyone on the forum had any success persuading local authorities to reduce light pollution in this type of situation?

I have heard of a great many people getting them fitted with sheilds to prevent light incursion into their property, however, I have never heard of anyone who got them to dim them.

 

Adam

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I complained repeatedly about the light opposite our house. It was incredibly bright, not only astronomy wise, but lighting up the bedroom. Took ages to even get a reply, then suddenly all the lights down our road were changed to LED's. These seem much better, at least they point mostly down.

I do see many shield bulbs around my town though, so keep pestering them.

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I had 2 streetlights that were pestering me and I asked my local council if they could fit shields to them for me and 2 weeks later they were fitted. The council did say to me that some of the streetlights n the village are dimmed but I've seen no evidence of this. 

Edited by AstroNebulee
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My local council weren't interested in shielding a light overlooking my back garden so I wrote to my local MP explaining how my hobby was being ruined by the light. Didn't take long for a shield to be fitted. Solved the problem instantly. 

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They should be able to fit shielding to reduce the light on your property while not affecting the road junction. Using terms like "light trespass" "light intrusion" and "my garden is bright orange during the hours of darkness" may help. 

If any of these lights shine into your bedrooms, complain about that too. Take photographs, make a nuisance of yourself until they give in. 😄

Good luck

Andy 

Edited by Dark Vader
Fat fingers
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Light intrusion into a bedroom is one of the stronger arguments for getting something done about public lighting. Copying your request to your local councillor helps as well, at least it did in our case.

 

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A shield request is your first option.
If they argue, I'm sure the SGL members involved in the success stories above would be happy to say something along the lines of...
Blyboroughton council did it for me..... A half dozen examples of how how other councils have seen sense should embarrass them into action.

A second string to your bow is a wildlife trail camera. Just a cheap one, sited to monitor traffic movements around the junction if possible.
If they say it needs lighting because of traffic and you find the milkman and newpaper lad is the only overnight traffic, it weakens their argument.
In one 'discussion' with my light pollution agency (Nottinghmashire County Council) they told me a road was a 'class XYZ requiring illumination to paragraph 123 subsection A' or some such 'blind him with regulations' statement'.
If you have the evidence to back up your assertions they don't like it. But they tread more warily if they discover they can't easy fob you off with an excuse.

Keep at them!

David.

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Phoned my local authority about a light just opposite. Great, positive response. Gave me a price to do it (not cheap). Man came round and fitted a shield in the lamp. One can only see the shield when standing under the lamp - probably cuts out about 4 cm. Waste of space - effectively does nothing!

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Sorry just to add....

A shield is a low cost device and is easily fitted.
Literally 15 minutes for a man with a work platform and basic hand tools.

Dimming requires expensive control gear installed somewhere.
There may not be a suitable space in the base of the lamp which means a roadside box and digging for cables.
You need to run link wires between lamps, etc, etc.

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@GrampyG You mean they wanted you to pay to sort out their poor choices, pollution and incompetence?
If so, surely this is public embarrassment time for the council.

We will all shortly be receiving our 2022 council tax notices - bigger than last year.
An ideal time to highlight waste!

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2 hours ago, woldsman said:

Thanks for all the replies! Will go down the shield route and will update if I get anywhere.

I used the city council's online street light fault reporting process to request a shade for a light shining into my garden. It took two attempts over several months, but the job got done and made a huge difference 

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Having bright streetlights can be counterproductive when people forget to turn on their headlights because the roads are so bright.  Sure, they can see the road just fine, but other drivers can't see that car nearly as easily as if their headlights and taillights were on.  I'll flash my high beams at them when I pass them, but they always remain oblivious.  Following them, I notice that they only turn them on once they enter an area without streetlighting.

This doesn't apply to GM and other cars that have sensors to automatically turn on the car's lights at twilight and during wiper usage.  It surprises me this feature hasn't been mandated for all cars by now.

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Yes!!! Just had some success here!

We've recently had the streetlights in Edinburgh updated to LEDs. One still shines in the back garden from the rear lane and appears worse than the old sodium-vapour lamp - just because it seems sooo intense when you are under the beam. Otherwise the general 'upwards' local light pollution is loads better now.

2 days ago I emailed the council's street-lighting upgrade project office and asked for it to be shielded. Well, they just replied to say yes, they'll instruct the contractor to put up a shield! No dates given, as the contractor arranges their own schedules, but hopefully within a few weeks.

Hope anyone else contacting their local council has as much success!

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No luck here after spending over 5yrs trying to even find out who owns the street lights. County Council says District Council, District Council says Parish Council and Parish Council says County Council. Have found ownership for every street light in the village apart from those lighting 2 roads ( and yes I live in one of those ).

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@IanC11.
If nobody owns the light, then nobody will come to repair it when it goes off due to component failure.
It will happen one one day.

This also brings up the question of who pays for the electricity to run it?
Does the electrcity distribution company realise they are providing a freebie? Might they come round to pull the plug?
Or if free electricity is OK and it is on your street, is it time to go out with an extension reel?

It sounds like you have encountered some exceptional councils. Exceptionally incompetent that is.🤣

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There's a street light right outside my front garden, where I do all my observing. It's been off, presumably broken, for well over a year. Sometimes, council inertia or incompetence isn't so bad.....!

(....and no, I didn't break it!) 😆

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On 02/02/2022 at 14:22, Louis D said:

Having bright streetlights can be counterproductive when people forget to turn on their headlights because the roads are so bright.  Sure, they can see the road just fine, but other drivers can't see that car nearly as easily as if their headlights and taillights were on.  I'll flash my high beams at them when I pass them, but they always remain oblivious.  Following them, I notice that they only turn them on once they enter an area without streetlighting.

This doesn't apply to GM and other cars that have sensors to automatically turn on the car's lights at twilight and during wiper usage.  It surprises me this feature hasn't been mandated for all cars by now.

The other effect of bright LEDs that doesn't usually get mentioned is this: the roads near me are quite narrow, bendy and have quite a few (often dangerously) parked cars, forcing you out onto the wrong side when approaching blind spots. With the low pressure sodium lights it was quite easy to distinguish their orange light from the white headlights of cars. So, when approaching a bend in the road, you got an early warning of a car coming the other way. Now that the orange lights are being replaced by white LEDs, this is no longer possible. Also, the new LEDs are invariably much too bright. Even if they are directed downwards, the reflected light from the road surface is significant (worse when wet). As a driver, I also find the glare uncomfortable to look at.
Even if the new LED lights are installed so as to emit only below the horizontal, they can still have detrimental effects if they are too bright.

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On 01/02/2022 at 12:57, Starwatcher2001 said:

The local authority charged you to cut out the light they are projecting into your property???

 

I would certainly contact my local MP on being charged for alterations for poor lamp positioning in the first place.

Steve

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Probably Worth local MP contact  - I’ve done that recently as my local MP Is not a member of APPG for dark skies - perhaps surprising given our recent local designation in North Yorkshire.  I have a very annoying overly bright LED light in my immediate local area (back garden view). Currently trying to work out who best to contact given it’s spoiling the otherwise very good Bortle 4 conditions. 

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On 03/02/2022 at 16:58, cajen2 said:

There's a street light right outside my front garden, where I do all my observing. It's been off, presumably broken, for well over a year. Sometimes, council inertia or incompetence isn't so bad.....!

(....and no, I didn't break it!) 😆

That didn't work for me. The sodium one almost outside my house died but was fixed in 2 days (no I didn't report the failure). Only to be replaced with LED not long after, typical "efficiency" there then!

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