Exeter Part Night Street Lighting

As I prepare for tonight’s Members’ Briefing on Part Night Street Lighting from Devon County Council Street Lighting Team and Cabinet Members, I’ve been doing some research, including going back through my councillor e-mail box.

Here’s an e-mail I sent exactly 2 years ago today

From: CLLR Bull, Paul
Sent: 13 June 2011 07:29
To: ‘environment@devon.gov.uk
Cc: ‘Stuart.Hughes@devon.gov.uk‘; ‘Paul.Ewings@devon.gov.uk
Subject: [COWICK] Part night street lighting

As the recently elected City Councillor I am interested in how the plans to introduce part night street lighting in Cowick are progressing and what plans, if any, there are to consult with Cowick residents?

How are these going to happen?

And who is responsible for organising any local forum meetings?

Are these consultations going to be held on a street level?

In the meanwhile, I have a few questiosn to ask and comments to make.

Have Devon County Council carried out any form of risk assessment on these proposals? If so, would it be possible to obtain a copy?

What are the plans to monitor the implementation of these proposals to ensure that there are no unanticipated adverse impacts?

Once in force, how will the areas that are using part time street lighting to be indicated? Will these be placed on the Devon County Council website.

I have been made aware that many councils have indicated these areas with luminous planning-type notices at the entrance and exit, and all affected lamp-posts stickered. Are there plans to do this in the city?

I understand that under the Highways Act 1980, a Highways Authority has the power [not a duty] to provide and maintain street lighting. However under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 [section 17] a Highway Authority must consider the effect on crime and disorder in this exercise of reducing street lighting and the need to do all it reasonably can to prevent crime and disorder. I hope that this was covered in your Risk Assessments. Are there any public papers containing your discussions with Devon and Cornwall Constabulary?

In sections 81 and 82 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, 30 mph speed limits require the provision of a system of lighting with lamps not more than 200 yards apart. Without specfic Traffic Orders, police may not be able to enforce the penalties to drivers excedding these speed linits. Will the necessary funding be put in place to invoke the necessary Traffic Orders to enable police to enforce speed limit violations?

And what are the impications of the Traffic Signs Regualtions and Genral Directions 2002 [Chapter 5] which seems to suggest that prior to any apparatus switch-off, a site assessment is required to ensure road markings and road studs are provided and comply with current standards to ensure road users safe passge through the site of part night street lighting is not compromised. has this been fully costed?

I await your comments with interest


Paul Bull

Cllr Paul Bull
Labour and Co-operative City Councilllor for Cowick

To date, I’ve yet to receive a reply to any of the questions raised. Indeed the only response I have had is that the queries will be passed onto the Street Lighting team. Perhaps my concerns will be answered tonight.

In the intervening 2 years little has changed except that Devon County Council Executive have approved the expenditure of £1.7million on a central monitoring system in April 2012.

It could be argued that this is putting the cart before the carthorse. Is part night street lighting a done deal? Why approve this expenditure ahead of the consultation with Exeter’s residents

I’ll be a little more charitable.

The CMS will allow other things:
1) The option of dimming as well as straight ON and OFF. Eminent criminologist, Dr Kate Painter of University of Cambridge has stated that street lighting  is over-bright. She had suggested that  the intensity of street lightscould be reduced to 75% of current levels without any reduction in safety

2) The street lights of Exeter could be easily switched on and off in line with official “lighting up” times as these change throughout the seasons from a remote computer rather than have to visit each street light and alter the time manually.

Each of these will give Devon Country Council small but significant savings – both to energy consumption and energy costs.


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