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Street lights been turned off by the Council..any updates?


Mick UK
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Is anyone living in an area where thier street lights have been turned off and if so, how much difference has it made to observing/imaging?

Also does anyone know if there are plans for this to go nationwide? (fingers crossed:))

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Shropshire council are voting on it soon. I am not holding my breath. I think diffferent council's will implement it in different ways. I am not sure whether they will have the ability to turn off every other light, or whether they will turn the lot off for a few hours. Will be interesting to see what happens. It is bound to make a difference. If it works in a few places then you would imagine they will look at doing it nationwide. That said, Powys tried it a couple of years ago and local residents actually paid out of their own pocket to switch them back on. Crazy.

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Rural areas of West Oxfordshire have already had all the timers on the street lights changed so they are off between 12.30 am and 5.30 am. Must save the council ( and us) a fortune.

Makes a big difference to me as the street light 25 yards away that shines into my garden is extinguished but Oxford itself still glows away to the South East.

John

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Shropshire council are voting on it soon. I am not holding my breath. I think diffferent council's will implement it in different ways. I am not sure whether they will have the ability to turn off every other light, or whether they will turn the lot off for a few hours. Will be interesting to see what happens. It is bound to make a difference. If it works in a few places then you would imagine they will look at doing it nationwide. That said, Powys tried it a couple of years ago and local residents actually paid out of their own pocket to switch them back on. Crazy.

I'm hoping for a positive decision... :D

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Hampshire will be dimming their lights and are currently evaluating the results of their trial to confirm the dimming level. But the initial figure is a dimming of 25% between the hours of 00:00 and 05:00. They are expecting to go county wide by 2015. But Gosport will be the first area to be dimmed.

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I am so looking forward to people's reports on the quality of the night sky in darkened urban areas. This could be a ripe time for astronomy groups to hold star parties in said areas, try and get Joe Public out to have a look at the sky, to see what they have missed. :blob10:

This could potentially be the golden age of astronomy, with the possible increased interest. (and a golden time for astronomy retaillers)

Edited by Beulah
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But Gosport will be the first area to be dimmed.

Really? how nice of them lol

Doubt it will make a difference to us stargazers who live in big towns or cities due to the sheer amount of lights around, but for those in rural villages were 1 or 2 lights annoy them this could be a good change

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One thing that worries me if the councils do decide to reduce the amount of street lights on after say 12pm, will this actually reduce peoples imaging/observing time?..lets face it, if we end up with near dark site viewing from the towns and cities after 12pm, will people be bothered to use thier scopes while the sky is glowing orange before 12pm?

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i have a main road at the back and side of my house our Council turn's off the

the street lighting at 1am till 5am

now i have nice dark sky's from the south east to the west

just got to fined a way to stop the rain

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I live in the part of Essex covered by Uttlesford District Council and they've been switching off the lights from midnight GMT for a couple of years now. The difference (visually) is amazing. I'm pretty lucky and can see almost down to mag 6 anyway but, for example, the Milky Way is dramatically improved and it's reasonably easy to find the brighter DSOs just by looking around with the naked eye without looking specifically for them. This is all relative of course and I'm sure someone with truly dark skies will find mine bright.

At the time of the switch off there was intense lobbying from the pub trade, retailers and concerned individuals that the darkness would make it easier for criminals and the antisocial to do their thing but thankfully the council resisted and it's worked out very well.

If your council are thinking about it then it's well worth writing (on paper - I'm not sure emails have the same impact) in support of a switch off as they'll certainly be receiving a lot of input from people against the idea.

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Shropshire Council yesterday voted to push ahead... by doing a trail with three small villages over the period of 12 months! Groan. Honestly, Shropshire Council are dangerously stupid. As many other UK councils have already trialled it, why not ask for their results and save 12 months and goodness knows how much money!?

The only positive is that Church Stretton has been chosen for the trial, which is just down the road, and is already pretty dark.

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Nottinghamshire Copunty council have justed voted to set up a cost saving scheme covering the whole county. It will involve a mixture of dimming, after midnight turn off and complete turn off. All after consultation, etc, etc, etc. Taking 4 years. The good part about their scheme is that any lamp not used for 3 years will be removed. That makes it difficult to turn it back on!

Obviously it won't be a rapid change in lighting levels as the lights will be dimmed or turned off only a few at a time and then scattered around the county. Really the only objective measure will be to take photos of black (I mean bright) spots now. Then repeat at intervals. Subjective reports would be along the lines of 'last autumn I couldn't see M42, now I can.

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Streetlight opposite us has been broken for a good month now.

Given the cutbacks , I don't think that they'll get around to repairing it, only another 6 to go!!

Sounds cracking! I'm thinking of leaving out lottery scratch cards and white lightening cider so the local chavs can finish of the rest in my street.

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Lights in Taunton haven't and aren't being turned off but my particular street has no streetlights (despite some residents efforts to have them put in) and the difference between my street and the nearby streets around is fairly noticable. Nothing hides the general glow of Taunton however...

Councils are loath to do anything until their backs are up against the wall and will, at every turn, look to see what other councils have done. It's worth pointing out that others have successfully trialled schemes but to cloud the issue councils often won't accept anything as being successful until it's acknowledged within local government i.e. a positive press report isn't going to be good enough.

I desperately hope that there's some serious studies on crime being undertaken in those areas that have trialled lights off schemes!

James

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I desperately hope that there's some serious studies on crime being undertaken in those areas that have trialled lights off schemes!

James

Well it will be interesting in my local area - some of the towns round here have reported a rise in vandalism and kids hanging around on the streets late at night (because they can see what they are doing)...and we're looking to "trial" the switchoff sometime next year...

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Theres plenty of evidence from the US that a switch off reduces crime. All your doing by illuminating stuff is making it easier for the criminals to scout out the area and get a good view of what they can nick.

Same with vandalism and yobbos - they hang out where theres light. No one wants to cope in pitch black (well apart from us that is :) )

The reason Councils have to run their own trials is twofold - firstly to see if they are going to save anything. YOu;d think that they would but a lot of street lighting is on an unmetered basis. In a nutshell the electric company takes a guess at what the streetlighting is using and charges you accordingly. The power companies are notoriously slow to get stuff changed and its a devil of a job to get rebates and credits or adjustments.

The second reason why each Council needs a trial is to convince its own residents. Its no use telling someone in South London that a trial took place in Somerset and all was well. The locals in any given district will all claim that THEIR area is different (stupid townies versus local yokels is the order of the day).

Problem is (and I work for a Council) is Councillors get windy about residents and shop keepers kicking up a fuss, they are after all elected officials and obviously have an eye on the popularity ratings. At my last Council I worked really hard to get some small concessions like turning off the Council offices floodlights but its a hard fought battle espcially when the majority of the citizens are saying they will be murdered in their beds, road fatalities will increase etc.

Only a week or so back there was somene on Radio 4 suggesting traffic accidents will be horrendous and safety will be compromised etc. I dont believe in global warming but I wish I did because the obvious response to that would be - well fatalities certainly will go up when the arctic ocean is washing over Woking and POlar bears descen in their thousands on the isle of wight.

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Thanks for the interesting insight Astro_Baby. I didn't realise they were not metered. Our parish council pays an amount that goes down to pence, so I always assumed it would be metered to be that precise.

Can I assume you mean that you don't believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming, rather than global warming itself?

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Umm - I wont risk an AGW debate - it always causes nasty fights in the lounge and blood getting on the flocked wallpaper :)

The bills will be down to the pence because the electric supplier will fix a price based on its cost per kilowatt so typically .089 per kW - they will then assess all streetlights running off of one unmetered supply (lets say they assess it at 27kW that will give .089 x 27 + VAT + Service Charges + Climate Change Levy which will probably work out at somethng odd with pence at the end. The basic volume though will be at guesstimate of what the lights are using unless its metered and streetlighting (at least at a District level) seldom is.

You always pay more for unmetered supplies because part of that is the finagle figure of 'who knows' and the the power companies dont like to lose out when cash is in the offing.

Of course unmetered also means its very hard to show a saving in cash terms because its tough to show a reduction in power because you have no baseline data to work from which means you have to peddle rather hard with the power company who naturally are reluctant to take less cash.

I dont know how it works with large scale lighting like motorways because I have only worked for district councils that have alsmost all of their limited streetlighting type stuff done on unmetered supplies.

Edited by Astro_Baby
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I wish they would turn them off here............

The Havering council have just fitted new street lamps down the street, from the old ones that gave nice subtle light to some new white in-your-face type.

The front of my house faces into fields that i used to be able to see some good views (SW) now it drowns everything out...

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Lincolnshire County Council are now considering '...how it can slash carbon emissions by changing bulbs or switching off lights in areas that are not in accident or crime black spots.Under the proposals, roads for new housing developments will only be lit for part of the night and turned off between midnight and 5.30am. New energy saving bulbs will be considered at locations where old lights need replacing and will be dimmed, where possible, between 9pm and 6am. In certain circumstances the county council could opt not to replace a light if it feels the area no longer needs one...

...The county council's highways, transport and technology committee supported the policy this week and will make a final decision next month.'

They're hoping to save themselves around £1.25M, so let's hope that sense prevails. I'll let you know when they've made their final decision.

There's a streetlight opposite that shines right into my back garden, I'm sure it's about to blow some time next month... :)

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Hi All, Just been reading the comments and thought I would check out my local council. ( Leicestershire County Council ) It appears that they are bringing in Part Night lighting from midnight until 5.30 am. There is a select handful of villages already operating this system where the parish councils have indicated an interest in this initiative. It is then planned to roll-out part-night lighting throughout the County. :)

Nick

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