#Exeter street lights will stay off on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

At Devon County Council’s Full Council meeting on 11/12/14 , Cllr Roy Hill [LAB, Alphington/Cowick] asked a number of questions about part-night street lighting in Exeter.

One particular question was:

Re: Streetlighting on 24th and 31st December 2014

Would Councillor Hughes consider keeping on those street lights on 24th and 31st December which have been switched off as part of the night time part street lighting?

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR HUGHES

The remote monitoring system that we invested in for Exeter provides for the option to switch lights back on without having to visit each individual lighting column. This is not the case in other areas of Devon where the remote monitoring system does not operate. However, the operation of part-night lighting was developed and agreed through a process of public consultation and Member input. This was to ensure that street lights that need to remain on all night are not converted to part night operation and remain lit all night, for example in areas of high night time activity, on main roads and on walking home routes. So whilst I would consider lights remaining lit on the 24th and 31st December in Exeter, I would need to understand why this is any better than the scheme that has been the subject of public consultation and Member agreement.

The reasoning behind this particular question goes all the way back to June 2013 when DCC Cabinet Members and Highways/Street Lighting officers gave a briefing on PNSL to cllrs – of all hues and from both Exeter City Council and Devon County Council.

I’ve just checked through my notes, tweets, storify feeds and blogs, but I can’t find what I was looking for.

At that briefing, I distinctly remember one of the representatives telling us that the £1.7m computerised Central Management System would be able to revert back to all-night street lighting for “special occasions” when more people than normal may be out and about in the dark – and I believe he even mentioned New Year’s Eve!

Earlier today, Roy forwarded a formal written response to his question at Full Council which sheds some light [yes, pun intended] on how DCC view such a request

Whilst it is technically possible to switch all of the lights on in Exeter on the 24th and 30th December, I think it is unnecessary give the consultation on the scheme and the care we have taken to develop the Exeter scheme. 

We have agreed that certain routes and areas in Exeter will remain lit including:

  • All main routes in the City,
  • A network of walking home routes developed through the consultation process,
  • Areas of high night time activity, like the city centre,
  • Areas under public Order CCTV surveillance,
  • Other lights agreed based on evidence and police support.

So, this leaves residential areas operating on a part night basis with the lights in those areas where Part-Night [Street] Lighting has been installed switching off between about 12:30 and coming back on at about 5:30. In these areas, people should be becoming familiar with the regime, which will operate throughout the year.

We have suggested that anyone planning to be out in a part-night lit area late at night carries a torch to illuminate part of their journey. 

The agreed approach on changing from part-night to full time operation of a light is to base a decision on evidence, which in needs to be supported by the police in the case of fear of crime. So, if there is any evidence that can be used to justify a change we can look at this but otherwise, given the process we have been through, I don’t see the need to make a wholesale change to the agreed scheme.

The response makes no mention of those “special occasions” when more people may be taking to the streets in the dark – and so it looks like the next “special occasion’ might be the arrival of the next millennium!

So if you’re planning to be out and out after midnight, please stay safe AND REMEMBER YOUR TORCH

BhRG78CIcAAHVfN

.

DCC response to Ben Bradshaw’s letter about part-night street lighting

Dear Mr Bradshaw

Part Night Lighting, Exeter

Thank you for your letter of 11 November 2014 regarding your constituent’s concerns about the operation of street lights in Exeter.

As part of the County Council’s to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption for street lights in Exeter, new switching controls are being installed that enable the street lights to be dimmed, or switched off, for part of the night. The lights can be controlled remotely from a computer, providing great flexibility to apply any changes quickly and easily.

The switching controls with the use of mobile phone type communication technology, using local area controllers, sub-controllers, and individual light controllers.

When the new equipment is first installed, the lights operate during the day until the area communication network has become established; this can take a day or two. These units have already been installed in Alphington, Cowick, Duryard, Exwick, St Davids, St James,  and St Thomas, with the intention being to complete the remaining 11 wards  by September 2015.

The operating system being used is computer based, but relies on good radio communications and in the main this has been successful, although there have been issues with areas or poor communication. The County Council has been working closely with the manufacturer to resolve these matters as quickly as possible.

Part-night operation, where the lights switch off between 00:30 and 05:30, began in the city in April of this year and there has not been any feedback from the police that issues of crime and personal safety have risen as a result,which reflects the outcome of part-night lighting implemented across Devon since 2009.

Part-night operations of street lights across Devon are under continual review, and as and when the police or any local council request that  lighting is restored to all-night operation for crime or safety-related concerns, the County Council will consider carrying out the necessary changes.

A review meeting is currently being arranged with local councillors and police to discuss the effect of the policy in the first 4 wards to have part-night lighting in Exeter, namely Alphington, Cowick, Exwick, and St Thomas.

My speech on T-TIP motion at Exeter City Council

Thank you, Lord Mayor

I wish to pay tribute to those from Devon Global Centre and elsewhere who gained those 400 signatures for the T-TIP petition presented to Council earlier this evening.

I know from my own experience on a similar 38 Degrees petition how difficult it is to interest the general public in the ramifications of T-TIP.

So I am pleased that we were able to incorporate the major elements of THEIR petition into the notice of motion we are debating today.

I’ve taken an interest in the effects of T-TIP ever since they were brought to my attention by Cllr Wardle over a year ago.

I’ve read articles and briefing on the subject – who even knew that there is such a briefing lodged in the House of Commons Library?

I’ve even followed the BIS committee’s meeting taking evidence on T-TIP earlier today.

Am I for T-TIP? Or against T-TIP?

It’s hard to say as I haven’t seen a text to which to judge the benefits of T-TIP.

But I do have fears.

Nothing I’ve read or heard about T-TIP fills me with confidence.

Most Free Trade Agreements are about reducing and removing tariffs

But that’s not the case with T-TIP.

Tariffs between the EU and the US are already low – they are close to zero, averaging around 3%.

The major exceptions include running shoes and fancy chocolate!

So, unlike classic free-trade arrangements, T-TIP focuses on regulatory and other non-tariff barriers – NBTs.

So my fear is that T-TIP could seriously weaken the safety standards we rely on, and weaken the values of fairness and democracy we cherish.

As it stands, T-TIP seems to be a bi-lateral trade agreement based around reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business – affecting things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations.

In the words of John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want, “T-TIP is correctly undestood as a negotiation between two competing trading partners, but as an assault on European and US societies by transnational corporation seeking to remove regulatory barriers to their activities on both sides of the Atlantic.” (see John Hilary The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – a charter for deregulationRosa Luxenburg Stiftung, Brussels Office/War on Want

It appears is that this trade deal will simply result in a race to the bottom on labour, social, environmental, and heath & safety standard

I’ve had to use the phrases “seems” and “appears” because most of the process of negotiation has been secretative and undemocratic.

These negotiations are being conducted exclusively by high-level cival servants. There is no political input.

Already there have been 7 rounds of negotiation…the last one concluded on 03 October 2014.

It was only after the conclusion of this round  of negotiations (on  09 Oct 2014) that the Council of the European Union finally declassified the previously restricted negotiating mandate.

It took a year of campaigning to get even this small concession to transparency.

So we now know how they are negotiating

But not on what

So like previous bilateral trade agreements, the terms contained within T-TIP are likely to be contentious.

The main focus of anger against T-TIP has been the threat to our NHS.

T-TIP could put restrictions on the ability of the UK government to control costs (such as the cost of medicines) and to regulate any transnational companies that provide health services.

T-TIP negotiations are based on ‘negative listing’ – a sector such as health needs to be listed as exempt.

As yet that hasn’t happened – although I’m pleased that Clive Efford’s Bill to halt the privatization of our health service recently passed its Second Reading in Parliament by 241 votes to 18.

I don’t want to see the privatization of the NHS – T-TIP might allow this to happen through the back door.

I hope that will form a thick RED line for the EU negotiators.

But it’s not only the NHS that could be affected by T-TIP

Another of those areas of contention is public procurement and the delivery of ALL public services

The Commission’s negotiating mandate includes provisions that T-TIP will increase mutual access to government procurement markets “at all administrative levels…in the fields of public utilities…and ensuring treatment no less favourable than that accorded to locally established suppliers”

Local government procurement would therefore be included.

As a result, the Commons Library research paper notes: There are concerns that [T-TIP]…could constrain the power of national governments to decide how publics services are provided”.

That’s the public services that we, Exeter City Council” deliver for our residents and citizens.

A motion was debated in the European Parliament on 15 May 2013 called for the Commission to explicitly exclude from the negotiating mandate access to public services:

15. Calls on the Council to explicitly exclude from the negotiating mandate market access to public services or any regulatory cooperation threatening the horizontal exceptions for public utilities or directly or indirectly increasing pressure for liberalisation of the public‑service sector;

However, this motion (and many others alongside) was defeated.

The European Commission has claimed that public services will be kept out of T-TIP by virtue of an exclusion of services “supplied in the exercise of governmental authority” as defined in the General Agreement on Trade in Services [GATS], which comes under the World Trade Organisation [WTO].

But the WTO definition of what would qualify under this exemption is narrow – “only on a non-commercial basis and not in competition with other suppliers”

To ensure that all public services are exempt form T-TIP is another RED line for me.

As a member of the Co-operative Party, I believe that as a fundamental principle that trade works best when based on the values and principles of co-operation than competition.

But more than that, I believe we should be talking about FAIR trade not free trade,

That’s why I have serious concerns over the inclusion of an Investor-State Dispute Settlement [ISDS] mechanism within T-TIP.

It is imperative to protect the right of democratically elected governments to legislate for legitimate public policy objective.

ISDS allows for multi-national companies to challenge this right.

Ultimately, ISDS remains a system based on PRIVATE justice rather than democratic jurisdiction.

It would effectively create a two-tier legal system, in which different sets of rules would apply to multinationals and small firms.

SDS is unnecessary as investor protection is already provided for in our mature legal systems.

And ISDS could be used as an instrument to coerce the EU or national governments, politically if not legally.

ISDS WILL challenge the right of governments to govern and leave them free to make the best laws for their citizens

I can see no reasonable justification to include ISDS in the T-TIP agreement.

So yet another RED line for those negotiators.

So there fears contained within T-TIP.

There is a long way to go until the negotiations are concluded.

The Tory led coalition is not interested in the details – even more so since Cameron sacked Ken Clark who, as Minister without Portfolio, was meant to oversee the T-TIP negotiations for the UK and didn’t replace him.

I’ve highlighted some key red lines that cannot be crossed…if they are, its time for a great big black line to be struck across the T-TIP agreement.

I urge all in this chamber to support this motion to ensure that the T-TIP negotiations are brought out into the open.

Storify :: 12. Notice of Motion on TTIP by Councillor Wardle under Standing Order No. 6

Questions about Cowick Part-Night Street Lighting asked at DCC Full Council Meeting

At Devon County Council’s Full Council meeting on 11/12/14 , Cllr Roy Hill [LAB, Alphington/Cowick] asked a number of questions about part-night street lighting in Exeter.

7. QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR HILL

Re: Streetlighting on 24th and 31st December 2014

Would Councillor Hughes consider keeping on those street lights on 24th and 31st December which have been switched off as part of the night time part street lighting?

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR HUGHES

The remote monitoring system that we invested in for Exeter provides for the option to switch lights back on without having to visit each individual lighting column. This is not the case in other areas of Devon where the remote monitoring system does not operate. However, the operation of part-night lighting was developed and agreed through a process of public consultation and Member input. This was to ensure that street lights that need to remain on all night are not converted to part night operation and remain lit all night, for example in areas of high night time activity, on main roads and on walking home routes. So whilst I would consider lights remaining lit on the 24th and 31st December in Exeter, I would need to understand why this is any better than the scheme that has been the subject of public consultation and Member agreement.

8. QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR HILL

Re: Streetlighting and Road and Pavement Works

Would Councillor Hughes be able to ensure liaison between the Council and other bodies where road and pavement works are underway, so that night lighting is kept on at the site for safety reasons?

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR HUGHES

Procedures will be put in place to ensure that where necessary and as far as possible street lights are on at night in the vicinity of roadworks.

9. QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR HILL

Re: Streetlighting and Adverse Weather

Could Councillor Hughes say whether plans are in place to switch street lights back on in adverse weather conditions such as snow?

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR HUGHES

Part night lighting only operates in residential area. Main roads and agreed walking home route in communities remain lit all night. Where lights operate on a part-night basis, they are only switched off between about 12:30 and 05:30 when pedestrian and traffic flows are low. So, no plans are in place to switch lights to all night operation when it snows as there is no evidence that this will provide any benefit to the travelling public. However, in exceptional circumstances like the floods that occurred in Braunton in recent years, if we were able to switch to all night lighting to help the community deal with a major incident, we would liaise with emergency services and make the necessary change.

10. QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR HILL

Re: Streetlighting and Safety Issues

What are the criteria for switching street lights back on in the event of safety issues being identified by residents (e.g. those who go to work before 5.30am) in part night time street lighting areas?

REPLY BY COUNCILLOR HUGHES

We have been clear in our communications on the areas affected by part night lighting, the hours of operation. We have suggested that if people plan their journey between about 12:30 and 05:30 in an area that has street lighting that operates on a part-night basis it would be sensible for them to carry a torch. This is what happens in communities or roads that do not have street lights installed. However, we have agreed to review part-night lighting if a safety issue is raised and the police support the view that switching lighting back to all night light would be beneficial. The criteria we use is the weight of evidence of a benefit which is provided by the police.

 

Alcoa Fitness Trail

exeter-city-council

MEDIA RELEASE | 10 December 2014

An exciting new fitness trail is set to be installed in an Exeter park.

The trail, which will incorporate outdoor fitness equipment as well as standard exercise challenges, will be installed at Cowick Barton playing fields. The project has been made possible thanks to a £41,620 grant from Alcoa Foundation, and local company Alcoa Howmet.

Active Exeter in partnership with Exeter City Council will work with local communities in designing and installing the trail, which is scheduled to be ready for action early next Summer. A key part of the community involvement will be with local teenagers.

Exeter’s Health and Wellbeing Board has been instrumental in driving forward the project to increase physical activity and sports participation within the city. The Board’s number one priority is to make Exeter the most physically active city in the South West by 2018.
The aim of the fitness trail is to increase visitor numbers to the park by 50% by October 2016, with around 100 people using the Trail on a weekly basis and gaining benefits to their health.

Cllr Keith Owen, Lead Councillor for Environment, Health and Wellbeing, said: “The Fitness Trail will be an enjoyable way for people to stay fit and active while having fun. Twenty per cent of 11-year-olds in the UK are currently obese. In Exeter we’re doing our bit to buck this trend.”

“Nicola Acton, of Alcoa Howmett, said: “Alcoa Howmet has been focusing on Well Being activities for over 12 months to help keep their workforce fit and healthy, and the new Fitness Trial was an excellent Project which the local community and our employees could all benefit from.

“We look forward to the works commencing and working alongside the Council,” she added.

=ENDS=