Exeter HATOC | Part-Night Street Lighting in Exeter

This afternoon’s Exeter HATOC meeting received the following report [HCW/15/3] on Part-Night Street Lighting in Exeter

1. Summary

This report updates members on progress with part-night lighting implementation within Exeter.

2. Background

In Devon, there are over 76,000 street lighting units 12,000 illuminated traffic signs, beacons and illuminated bollards. The revenue budget in 2014/15 for maintaining and operating the street lighting stock is 5.14M, of which 3.6M is for energy costs.

Street lighting accounts for 23.8% of the County Council’s carbon footprint.

A new street lighting policy was approved in July 2007 (ref: EEC/07/216/HQ) and the decision to implement part night lighting in residential areas was approved in January 2009 (ref: EEC/09/8/HQ). This street lighting policy included a number of measures to reduce the energy consumption of the street lighting stock and, as a consequence, the carbon output from street lighting.

The adopted policy for the introduction of part-night lighting in residential areas means some streetlights that were previously on all-night long will now be lit between dusk and about 12:30am and will then be switched off until about 5:30am, they will then be lit from about 5:30am until dawn. The policy allows for some lights in residential areas to remain lit all night, for example on main routes through communities, at busy junctions, in areas of high night time activity, in areas of CCTV surveillance and where there is evidence of a need, which is supported by objective data.

A proposal to implement a remote monitoring system was approved in April 2012 (ref: CDW/12/11). Remote monitoring for street lighting offers an alternative to the conventional arrangements for management of the lighting stock and implementation of part night lighting and night dimming. The systems provide a more flexible solution, via a web based interface, to reduce lighting intensities incrementally and implement and adjust part night lighting and night dimming schemes. This can all be done from a central location, thus removing the need for site visits to adjust and change the lighting regime at individual columns.

The solution also gives warning of faults and gives notification of lighting failures. It removes the need for night scouting, as the system detects and alerts the street lighting team to lamp failures.

It has been agreed to introduce the remote monitoring system in Exeter with a view to widening its use to other locations in the future. The system is being implemented in conjunction with the implementation of part-night lighting in the city.

3. Progress update

The implementation of part-night operation of street lights in Exeter began in September 2013 in Alphington and Cowick wards and involved the fitting of remote monitoring components into existing lanterns and replacement of existing lanterns that were not suitable. Similar work in Exwick and St Thomas wards began in October 2013.

Street lights in Alphington and Cowick started operating part-night in April 2014 and in Exwick and St Thomas in May 2014.

Conversion work began in Duryard and Pennsylvania wards in June 2014 and lights started operating part-night in November 2014.

Conversion work began in St James ward in October 2014 and in St Davids ward in November, lights in both wards will remain operational all night.

Each individual street light has a communication node fitted to it and up to 250 lighting units in an area are controlled by a Branch node located within the ward.

Communication between the nodes and branch and between the branch and central control is via air-borne radio communication and can be accessed via the internet. So it is possible to allocate switching profiles to individual and groups of lights so that they can operate all night or part-night.

In a project of this complexity it is inevitable that there have been some issues in commissioning the work. The efficient operation of this remote monitoring system relies on good radio communications and an effective geographic location of branch controllers, so that command instructions can be issued as necessary. In addition as part of the installation, when lights are first commissioned, the lights themselves will operate during the day light hours for a day or two prior to operating dusk to dawn, or part-night as required.

However, in some instances, lights have been on during the day for longer than envisaged, either as a result of poor communications, or faulty components. These issues have affected only a small percentage of lights so far converted. In the main, a re-mapping of nodes and their branch controllers have been sufficient to improve communications, but in some areas it has been necessary to install additional branch controllers.

The County Council is communicating regularly with the system supplier and the term contractor in order to learn from and minimise commissioning faults during the remainder of the project.

The table below gives details of units converted to-date in each ward with the remaining provisional implementation programme shown in descending order.

WARD PROGRESS PART-NIGHT OPERATION TOTAL NUMBER OF LIGHTS CONVERTED TOTAL NUMBER OF LIGHTS OPERATING PART-NIGHT
Alphington 99% Complete * Yes 1,214 792
Cowick 99% Complete * Yes 441 331
St Thomas 99% Complete * Yes 398 305
Exwick 99% Complete * Yes 889 190
Duryard 99% Complete * Yes 193 143
Pennsylvania 99% Complete * Yes 634 462
St James 99% Complete * No 330 0
St Davids 99% Complete * No 218 0
Priory Branch & new units Not Yet 18 0
St Leonards Branch & new units Not Yet 6 0
Newtown Branch node only No 1 0
Polsloe Branch & new units Not Yet 4 0
Pinhoe Branch & new units Not Yet 20 0
Mincinglake Branch node only Not Yet 1 0
Heavitree Branch & new units Not Yet 21 0
Whipton Barton Branch & new units Not Yet 8 0
St Loyes Branch & new units Not Yet 3 0
Topsham Branch & new units Not Yet 31 0

Although conversion works are substantially complete, there are a small number of lanterns that are of modern architectural design, or classic heritage type, that are not suitable for immediate conversion with the remote monitoring system. These lanterns may also be expensive to replace, or still have quite a long working life remaining. As technology develops and when the bulk of the works are complete in Exeter as a whole, the wards will be revisited to see if there are affordable solutions to address these remaining lanterns.

4. Consultation

Consultation events were held between September and November 2013, which included information displays and a number of ward meetings with presentations and question and answer sessions. There was a very low response rate and analysis indicated that 56 of the responses showed support for the proposal to introduce part-night operation whilst 23 responses indicated objection to the proposals.

Consultation on part-night lighting in Exeter continues on the street lighting section of the County Council web pages where feedback is being collected. This will continue until six months after the final area of Exeter is converted to part-night lighting.

In addition to a six month review of each ward after switching to part-night operation and following a 12 month cycle of part-night lighting after all works are substantially complete, together with the availability of police comments, it is intended to review common themes and propose actions to address these. There will also be the opportunity to review and take action at any time if evidence arises of issues in any areas following discussions with councillors and the police.

5. Legal Considerations

There are no specific legal considerations associated with this progress report.

Recommendation: It is recommended that the Committee notes the progress on implementing Exeter part-night lighting 

What do our local police teams know about part-night street lighting?

Last night local councillors had one of their quarterly liaison meetings with the Neighbourhood Policing Teams of Devon & Cornwall Police –  I asked for the issue of PNSL to be place on the agenda

Insp Tanya Youngs confirmed what we had heard in the monthly reported updates we’re receiving form our neighbourhoold policing teams – namely, that there us no reported increase. She also went on to say that in additon as far as she could see there was no policing issues connected with PNSL at the moment.

I went on to ask if the NPT knew the protocol for getting lights turned on in the event of an emergency/incident.

At first, someone around the table (cant remember who) suggested that they could be left off within a couple of days if the incident was a long-term one – that police office had done just that in outlying areas of Devon.

But all seemed to be unaware of the immediate switch-on facility that was used as a safety selling point at the initial members’ briefing in June 2013 and in subsequent discussions, conversations and correspondence.

I suppose that in normal circumstances this wouldn’t be surprising – its just the neighbourhood team’s Insp, Sgts and maybe PCs that attend this meeting.

But last night we were fortunate to be joined by senior officers of the Local Policing Area (LPA) – Ch Insp Matt Lawler (Ch Insp for Exeter, East and West Devon) and Supt Keith Perkin (Police lead for LPA)

Neither of these were aware of this facility being offered by DCC as part of the £1.7m computer-controlled Central Management System, either.

So Devon County Council, why are senior police officers not aware of the very safety features that helped convince me that PNSL could be a viable policy?

UPDATE:
Although Exeter is seeing no increase of crime, other counties are seeing significant increases.

As a result of a 62% increase in crime, Kent County Council is to return every residential area to all-night lighting by calling a halt to its policy of part-night street lighting and converting its enitre stock of 120,000 street lamps to LED at a cost of £40m.

Massive victory for Express readers as council decide to turn street lights back on [Dover Express, 02 February 2015]

Part-Night Street Lighting…what happens elsewhere?

I have been reviewing Devon County Council’s policy over Part-Night Street Lighting [PNSL] and comparing it with other local authorities.
Last month I was reminded of the criteria DCC use for PNSL, when they gave reasons why the lights weren’t going to left on for Christmas’ Eve and New Year\s Eve.
  • 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 what happens elsewhere?
Appendix 1 gives some good examples of exemptions and perhaps DCC could do with looking at some of them!
– areas where speed limit is 30mph 
This is probably in place – certainly is in Cowick, but only after lobbying by Heather and myself. Could be worth checking other wards?
– areas with 24 hr operational emergency services sites including hospitals
Again, lobbying by Cllr Andy Hannan has covered this for RD&E, but is there anywhere that isn’t covered?
– where there are potential hazards on Highway (traffic islands, etc)
certainly NOT in Cowick
– remote footpaths and alleys linking residential streets
We have this for the one linking Buddle. Lane and Merrivale Road (after lobbying) but no other in Cowick. Other wards?
– areas with sheltered housing and other residencies accommodating vulnerable hospitals
N/A in Cowick, but what about elsewhere?
– Pedestrian crossings and subways 
not sure how DCC have implemented this around the city
I see that Wokingham BC have added bus stops to their list of exemptions – I’m dubious about that one as PNSL happens when buses aren’t running!
In recent months, DCC has gone quite quiet on the actual roll out of PNSL throughout rest of city – I wonder how things are progressing elsewhere in Exeter?

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.

 

More problems with Cowick Part-Night Street Lighting

The Cowick team of Labour councillors have been picking up many adverse comments about street lights within the ward – and the problems seem to spread across the whole of the West of the Exe.

Since these problems are not being seen across the rest of the city, Cllrs Paul Bull, Heather Morris and Roy Hill think that these instances are related to the systems being used to control the part-night street lighting policy which plunges Cowick, Exwick, Alphington and St Thoma  into pitch darkness between the hours of 00:30 and 05:30.

Paul (@CllrPaul4Cowick) and Heather (@CllrMorris) use Twitter and Facebook (Cowick Councillors Homepage: https://www.facebook.com/CowickLabourTeamsHomepage) to keep in contact with local residents.

This week their social media feeds have been full on contacting telling them about street lights being on during daylight hours.

And these comments were echoed over the weekend, as the Cowick team were out speaking to local residents on the doorstep

“They were angry that Devon County Council failed to communicate the PNSL policy was has implemented on 1st April,” Heather commented.

“But they now seem full of despair as money is burned with lights being on during the day.”

Roy Hill confirmed that this problem has been raised in the past.

“We highlighted this over the summer and we were told that this was a safety measure – the lights come on when the area controllers lost contact with the individual street lights. Could it be that the area wasn’t properly mapped and enought area controllers supplied and installed? We need this problemto be addressed as a matter of urgency”

But there is another pronblem. In some street, the lights aren’t coming back on until 6am or even later.

“I’ve been in contact with the street lighting team at Devon County Council” said Paul Bull.

“They tell me there are both time-activated and light-activated phases involved in the switch-on at 05:30.

“Some confusion occurred as to what was time-activated and what was light-activated in the dimming and part-night operations of the street lights.

“During this process, the 05.30 light-activated switch-on phase was deleted and this just left a 06.00 dimming phase and light-activated switch-off later in the morning”

According to Devon County Council, the necessary changes have now been made to restore the original part-night operation of the street lights.

However, if the lights still continue to come on at 6am or later, residents could contact DCC:
By phone: 0345 155 1015

By e-mail: lighting@devon.gov.uk

By post: Street Lighting, Devon County Council, Matford Lane Offices, County Hall, Topsham Road, EXETER EX2 4QW

E&E | On all day or off all night… call for end to Exeter street lighting ‘fiasco’


01 October 2014

On all day or off all night… call for end to Exeter street lighting ‘fiasco’

EXETER’S switch over to part-night lighting has been described as a “fiasco” by councillors who are calling for the scheme to be halted.

Devon County Council’s scheme to switch off street lights between midnight and 5.30am has been rolled out across the whole of West Exe, with the rest of the city set to follow. But some street lights have since been on all day, and some lights which should be on at night for safety reasons have remained off.

The lights are controlled by a £1.7m computer and the county council has admitted there have been ‘issues’ but says that these are being resolved.

Rob Hannaford, county councillor for St Thomas and Exwick said: “Over several months I have received complaints from angry residents about street lights being left on all the time. “Some of the worst areas are around Redhills, Buddle Lane, Farm Hill, Queens Road, Gloucester Road and Cowick Street. Most people were not on balance in favour of the switch-off, however now they are furious about the waste of money these faults are causing.

“It’s now a long-running shambles that’s become a fiasco, especially when it’s all about cuts to front-line services at County Hall.”

Cowick city councillor Paul Bull is calling for the programme to switch the rest of the city over to be halted until the problems are resolved.

Cllr Bull believes the problem has been caused because the county council has been ‘skimping’ and not enough control modules have been put in to allow signals to be picked up from the central computer.

He said: “My guess is that they are skimping, trying to save money but then the lights are staying on all the time. We need to make sure we have a secure and robust system before the rest of the city is changed over.”

City council leader Pete Edwards added: “They should put all the lights back on through the night until they get this problem sorted out. The system isn’t working in West Exe so how can they expect it to work in the rest of the city?”

Roy Hill, county councillor for Alphington and Cowick agreed, said: “All these problems should mean that the county council puts a complete halt to the switch off until they have worked with the manufacturers to iron them out. Also if the city’s topography is challenging for the new system why was this not investigated and trialled before the new kit was installed?

“We will be calling for a special meeting to discuss where we are with this as soon as possible.”

A spokesman for the county council said: “Each area controller uses radio waves to control a maximum of about 250 lights over a 1km radius, but communications can be affected by the local building landscape.

“Initial mapping provided by the suppliers has, in general, worked well for the six wards that have had the remote monitoring equipment installed.

“As this is new technology there are occasions where issues arise but adjustments are being made to achieve complete coverage. In this instance an additional branch is being installed in Okehampton Street; a number of lights will be assigned to it and the issue of day-burners should be resolved.

“A similar situation occurred in part of Exwick and an additional branch was installed on Exwick Road with positive results.”

The switch over in Duryard and Pennsylvania is more or less complete, St James’ has started and St David’s will start during October.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet member for Highway Management said: “There was consultation with the public, the Police and councillors when proposals for part night operation of street lighting were being put together. This enabled us to develop a balanced set of proposals with some busy areas, agreed walking home routes and the main through roads and junctions in Exeter remaining lit all night. We have always said that once installed, schemes could be reviewed with the Police based on feedback on any issues experienced.”

Day-burners – the problems caused by part-night street lighting

I have been informed that in many parts of Cowick, street lights have been permanently on for the the past 24 hours.

As you can imagine, with the introduction of PNSL across the ward in April, this situation is not been met agreeably by local residents

So I wonder what Devon County Council have to say about this?

The installation of part-night lighting controls in Cowick and surrounding areas has progressed fairly well, but there have been locations where communications between individual lights and their area controllers have been poor, resulting in some lights operating during the day.

There are three area controllers in the Cowick ward, managing over 600 lights and the controller for the area between Wardrew Road and Okehampton Road is struggling to communicate with all the lights in that area, so DCC is arranging for an additional controller to be installed in Okehampton Road to improve the communication network and eliminate lights operating during the day.

The placement of controllers and their communication paths is affected by building topography and therefore not an exact science, so may not be effective first time – very much like when using a mobile phone and you need to move about to get the best signal. This means that some fine-tuning is required, either by adding more area controllers, or changing the communication configuration within an area.

The controls are also affected by fluctuations in the electricity supply and will day-burn overnight until the control has reset itself.

An additional controller should be installed this week, which should address the problem of day-burners.