Street lights, dark skies

Some while ago I had a card through the door from Dorset County Council and Southern Electric to say that street lights would be updated in this area "in the next four weeks". The first step is to mark the positions on the ground "in the next few days" followed by excavating holes, erecting new poles, fitting the new lights, changing the wiring and removing the old ones. They have a web site to keep us informed about progress.

I've seen no sign of any activity at all so far, though I think the card arrived quite a few weeks ago.

Two of my interests are involved here:

  • energy efficiency
  • light pollution

I'm keen to see improved efficiency, reducing energy consumption which is essential in these times of rising energy costs as well as our need to reduce greenhouse gases. Energy saved will partly offset the cost of the work.

As a keen watcher of the night sky, it'll be wonderful if they do a decent job and light gets directed vertically downwards towards the ground where it's needed, instead of sideways haphazardly - for instance into my garden. When the leaves drop off the trees, I can see about four street lights in three directions and it's hard to find a dark spot to get a good view of the sky. People with poorly positioned security lights are a problem too.

I searched online for 'light pollution' and found some worthwhile sites:
http://www.lightpollution.org.uk/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_pollution
http://www.darksky.org/

On the basis of the lack of activity so far, and the fact that the web site http://lightsonindorset.co.uk/ just says "Coming Soon..." I'm not going to celebrate until I actually see the job done.

Are you pleased about this change if it happens or doesn't it bother you? Do you want to see the sky?

I have a very similar problem

I have a very similar problem to you at the moment. I like to watch the stars from my balconey at night. Apart from the fact that there is a floog light to the rear of my house which literally points straight up into view. Which makes it literally impossible to get an appropriate view.
It is rather strange that your street light are pointing horizontially into your home, you should right to the council about this.

Wonders of the Universe?

The Parish Council are deciding whether to turn off some street lights for part of each night to help reduce energy costs. I very much prefer proper natural darkness, rather than these ghastly new lights shining all night, interfering with the natural patterns for birds and animals and completely spoiling our the view of the Wonders of the Universe!

Which do you want - an Urban feel to the village, making it like 24 hour docks, or the chance to see the wonders of nature, at least for a few hours after midnight?

Street light hazard

Here is an updated link for the new street lights as the one SEC gave us previously never had any information on it.

http://www.lightsonindorset.co.uk/Public/Default.aspx

This might be useful to anyone else walking around the village finding parts of old street lights lying on the pavement.

new streeet lights

The new street lights in Highfield Road have now been switched on. They are much to bright and raising your sight is dangerous. I predict there will be accidents due to them.

We now have some new street

We now have some new street lights working in our street.They now give off so much light its almost day time 24/7 in our bedroom,bathroom and hall etc :-( ....when they are all working it will be a nightmare!!

Street lighting

If it ain't broke ..don't fix it. I may be wrong but none of the street lighting in C.M. seems that old as to be in desperate need of replacement. Is there someone out there who is in need of finding ways to spend our money?

Street Lights: action imminent?

I had a four page leaflet through the door today from Dorset County Council and Southern Electric Contracting about the changes to street lighting, so they hadn't completely forgotten. It says "in the next few days new positions for the lamp posts will be marked..." so maybe it really will happen.

The back page mentions their web site again, where presumably they intend to tell us something. We'll have to guess what they were going to say though as it just says 'coming soon' as it did in November. Maybe I should offer to do their web site.
For no information at all, see http://lightsonindorset.co.uk/

Global warming and dark skies

There were recent postings about the standard of lighting in Corfe Mullen and the waste of electricity in letting light shine upwards. It only serves a useful purpose if it is directed to illuminate things which we want to look at, which are generally near ground level. I had a moan about the Village Hall external lights which are folded fluorescent tubes radiating in a vertical plane.

If you would like to see how much light pollution Corfe Mullen
represents then please click the link and zoom into the area by
clicking on the appropriate location.
http://avex.org.free.fr/cartes-pl/uk/UK-pl-relief-topo.html

John C.

Proposed Street Lighting upgrade

Andrew,
With reference to your article on New Street lighting to reduce light pollution of the night skies.
I have no specific data on the progress of the works but I can confirm that new heavy duty electricity cable is being installed from the Electricity Sub Station, at the rear of Harlees Chip Shop, up to the main Wareham Road. This upgrade work may be relevant.
However you may recall a couple of years ago the Street Lighting, along the length of Wareham Road, being replaced with new light units.
Prior to this work being completed I could stand in my back garden, approximately 80 metres back from the main road, and comfortably count the number of stars in the night skies. Not many I can assue you.
Following the installation of the new lighting units the results were dramatic. The number of stars now visible is countless.
The new lighting units, in my experience, most defininatly reduce light polution to a very noticable extent.
If you can find a position where you can view one of the lighting columns on Wareham Road from the side you will see the light beam directed downwards with defined edges to the beam (not unlike a hand held torch) None of the light goes sideways or upwards.
We can only hope that the Authorities keep to their promised timescales and I am sure your patience will then be rewarded with fabulous views of our night skies.
Always assuming of course that we get a few cloudless nights.

Regards
Dave Wright

Yippeee the new lamps are now

Yippeee the new lamps are now on and I'm not sure what's worst.... Not being able to sleep because the lamp across the road shines through the bedroom window or not having any peace during the day because SWMBO keep moaning about it.
Does anyone still have the leaflet.. I seem to recall that there was a complaint procedure to have the heads adjusted to minimise any problems.
Anyway, I'm off to find a dark place.

Street Lighting

If the front of your house is illuminated you can request a back shield. I got one because my back garden was being lit up. It is very effective. Call the number on the notice on the lamppost, noting the code number for that post first.
I had some correspondence with our MP about the lights. Apparently it is a EU directive! How much input did our Parish Council have? So now even our street lights are controlled by Brussels!
Driving down Albert Road or Highfield Road at night the sudden glare each time you pass one of these lights is very distracting.

Too Bright!

The front of my house is lit more than necessary by the new lights. The road outside reminds me of a floodlit 24 hour ferry port while waiting for a night time ferry. It's not proper night time any more and detracts from the feeling of living in a semi-rural location. Does this affect wildlife? Do the birds manage to sleep?

I'm also unimpressed by the excess illumination in my back garden. I want to be able to see the night sky and so the darker, the better. The two new bright spots of light which are at least as bright as the Moon, low in the Eastern sky are quite distracting and may be a real nuisance when trying to see dimmer objects than the Moon, especially when Winter comes and there is less protection from foliage.

I plan to get a decent sized telescope to observe planets and stars, although a lot of the potential sky is obscured by nearby houses and trees. These extra lights are another problem.

I decided to do as you suggest Derek but I can't see any numbers on the three nearest lamp posts. Do they only put some temporary notice on them, in the hope that they can retrieve it quickly and claim everyone is happy? I'm not!

Shades

Our new street light had its shade attached yesterday. It is much better. in fact I am hoping nobody complains now that it is not bright enough!

Andrew, the post number and telephone number should be clearly visible on the post. If not there is something wrong, as there would be no reference for SEC if someone wanted to report a fault (as opposed to excess illumination).

Illumination

I noticed the new lights working for the first time last night here too. I'm not too pleased with the bright point of white light on a taller post than before and still shining sideways. I thought part of the rationale for this was to illuminate the ground primarily and that sideways and upwards directed light 'pollution' would be minimised. I didn't notice brighter light through my bedroom curtains but I don't think the nearest one in a new position was turned on, and I doubt I'll be happy when it is, shining at my house and into my garden, spoiling my view of the night sky.

Yes Phil, I do still have the leaflet. It says: "We do offer to check the layout design and if there is an alternative convenient position, we will consider an approach from residents to relocate the column before it is erected."
The last few words make it clear that the time they consider what residents want (and presumably from neighbours in agreement, not from one disadvantaged household) is when the marking out is done, not when they've finished.

As the new one here is in a new position, I didn't notice any yellow paint under a hedge until the post was there. Then I assumed the light might be no bother, but I can't tell until I see it lit. There's one at the back in the next road and it seems to floodlight the front of one house; I'd hate that.

What are they for anyway? I'd much rather go without street lights at all and let pedestrians take responsibility and carry a torch!

Intended lighting updates.

The intention sounds good. I hope that the change soon includes the lights fixed to the walls of the Library and Village Hall. They are a particularly bad design, mounted at approximately eye level such that they spread as much light upwards as they do downwards. Light shining directly into the eyes actually reduces visibility by closing down the eye pupils. Only light illuminating something near ground level is useful, and so most of the light from those lamps is counter productive. A solution to the same design problem was implemented at Durlston Country Park, but that has failed to result in action here.

Light and Hope

Thanks Dave, your post gives me hope that the work will reduce light pollution when complete. I just need to be patient.

Anonymous: I shouldn't think the Library or Village Hall lights are part of this work. I can't picture them but I expect you're thinking of security lights which are the responsibility of those buildings and nothing to do with street lighting. I can imagine that light from those buildings might interfere with the view of the night sky for those living nearby.

Light and Hope

The Library and Village Hall wall mounted lights are supposed to serve a similar purpose to street lighting. They scatter light in the general area of public movement between the Library, Village Hall, Play Area, Co-op, the car parks, and the recycling skips. They are not conventional security lights but folded fluorescent tubes which scatter light in the vertical plane. I think they are appalling. In my view they are superfluous because there are five street lamps of more sensible design in the same general area. John Christian.

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