E&E Letters | Inconsiderate pavement parking – Let’s make it ‘cross-party’

E&E

13 October 2016

Inconsiderate pavement parking – Let’s make it ‘cross-party’

I welcome the recent thoughts of Cllr Peter Holland on the issue of inconsiderate pavement parking [Anger over inconsiderate pavement parking in ExeterE&E, 10 October 2016] as they echo the same comments I’ve been making for the past five years.

Cllr Holland is correct that section 30 of the Exeter City Council Act 1987 did outlaw the practice of parking on footpaths [ie pavements] and verges, and this provision was enforced by traffic wardens under the direction of Devon & Cornwall Police.

exeter-act-1987-cover

section-30-of-exeter-city-council-act-1987

However, Cllr Holland is mistaken in saying “when the responsibility for enforcement of the law was transferred to Devon County Council the law went into ‘decay’.”

The truth is that when parking enforcement was decriminalised in May 2008, those powers transferred to Devon County Council and now Civil Enforcement Officers [CEOs] enforce using powers issued by the Secretary of State for Transport [The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP] under regulations contained within the Traffic Management Act 2004.

And in the rush to transfer powers to DCC, the provisions of the Exeter Act 1987 were missed.

A new power was conveyed by Statutory Instrument 2012 No.12 issued by the Government under the TMA 2004. Within its Schedules, the Statutory Instrument details which restrictions can be enforced by DCC’s CEOs.

statutory-instrument-2012-no-12Civil enforcement of offences in section 30 of the Exeter City Council Act 1987
2. In Schedule 7 to the Traffic Management Act 2004 (road traffic contraventions subject to civilenforcement), in paragraph 4 (parking contraventions outside Greater London), after subparagraph
(2)(e) insert—
“(ea) an offence under section 30(1) of the Exeter City Council Act 1987 (c. xi)(prohibition of parking vehicles on verges, central reservations and footways).”(b)

However, the situation was complicated in that the Department for Transport informed DCC – as the Local Highways Authority – that it would require additional signage, at intervals of around 400m, to enforce the new legislation.

And, of course, there are some roads which would be blocked without pavement parking,

Indeed the P bus – which coincidently serves both my ward of St Thomas and that of Cllr Holland – would be unable to make its way down Barley Farm Road if all the vehicles parked on the road.

If the situation is complicated in Exeter, then it is even more complex nationally.

The only mention of pavement parking in the Highway Code is under Rule 244:
“You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.”

The direction MUST NOT is legally enforceable [under the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974 section 15] but should not is an advisory direction, not an enforceable one.

There is little or nothing DCC’s Civil Enforcement Officers can do in this situation – unless the vehicle is causing damage to the pavement, when the driver *could* be prosecuted. In practice, this rarely happen, if at all.

Interestingly [as it pre-dates motorised vehicles], under section 72 of the Highways Act 1837 it is an offence to wilfully [but note, not park] “a carriage of any description upon the footpath.” But this can only be enforced by a warrant Police Officer, who needs to see the carriage actually driving on the footpath – even though to park on the pavement, the vehicle must have been driven onto it.

And it is also an offence under the Highways Act 1980 and also under s.28 of the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847 to “wilfully obstruct free passage along the highway or deposit anything which causes an interruption to, or obstruction of, the highway [including any public footpath or public thoroughfare].

In these cases, enforcement is the responsibility of warranted Police Officers and authorised PCSOs, rather than DCC’s CEOs.

At a meeting of the joint Exeter City Council and Devon CC’s joint Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC] held on 28 July 2015 [see minute 119], County Officers expressed confidence that a Private Members’ Bill  being brought forward by Simon Hoare MP [CON, North Devon], which would resolve the whole issue of inconsiderate pavement parking.

exeter-hatoc-minute-119

I wasn’t convinced at the meeting that the Bill would proceed, and so it came to pass that on 08 December 2015, after a debate in the House of Commons, Simon Hoare withdrew his Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill 2015-16 because he had been promised that “DfT would undertake some work to examine more closely the legal and financial implication of an alternative regime.”

So Cllr Holland’s own Government appears to kicked the issue into the long grass.

I note he hopes to raise the issue when the Minister, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, visits the city later this month.

Let me make this offer – we could make this a cross-party issue and I would be happy to meet the Minister along with him.

Paul Bull
Labour & Co-operative Councillor, St Thomas Ward

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@DevonCC Place Scrutiny | 20mph Speed Limits

DCC logo

 

 

 

 

On 14 June 2016, Devon County Council’s Place Scrutiny considered this Report of the Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste (HCW/16/44),  with attendance from Devon and Cornwall Police.

The minutes of the meeting note:
(Councillor Hook declared a personal interest in this item by virtue of being a member of “20 is Plenty”, a national campaign group.)

The Committee received and noted the Report of the Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste (HCW/16/44) setting out the present positon relating to the County Council’s Policy on Local Speed Limits together with a copy of the current Devon Traffic Policy and Devon Traffic Advice Note.

Members were advised that publication of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) study on a national review of 20mph speed limits had been delayed and was not now anticipated until 2017 and that only after publication of any new guidance from DfT to Local Highway Authorities could the current Devon Policy on Local Speed Limits be reviewed.

Members nonetheless recognised concerns expressed about speed limits and enforcement acknowledging also that these concerns could be dealt with by working with the Police, local communities and the Speed Complaint Action Review Forum (SCARF) whose reviews could include enforcement via police or speed management safety cameras or education (using vehicle activated speed warning signs). It was important to continue collating data.  Working with local communities on self-help schemes was another option, details of which were on the Highways web pages.

The Committee also welcomed Inspector Richard McLellan and PC Mark Goulding from Devon and Cornwall Police who addressed the meeting at the invitation of the Committee outlining the action taken particularly in respect of repeat offenders and the need for collection of data.

It was MOVED by Councillor Hook, and SECONDED by Councillor Ball and
RESOLVED that Cabinet be recommended to make representations to the DfT expressing the Council’s disappointment at the continuing delay in publication of the DfT’s new guidance on 20mph speed limits and Devon MPs be also urged to exert pressure on the DfT for early publication.

FURTHER READING:
The County Council agreed Devon’s speed limit policy in August, 2006. The Report can be seen on the DCC website using
the following link:
http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/Data/Cabinet/20060801/Minutes/pdf-EEC-06-92-HQ.pdf

A Scrutiny investigation into 20 mph limits was reported at Scrutiny in November 2008. The Task Group covering report can be seen on the DCC website using the following
link:
http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/celistdocuments.aspx?MID=1465&DF=11%2f11%2f2008&A=1&R=0&F=embed$text

Scrutiny considered a report on Road Traffic Collisions and Casualties in September 2014 that included a discussion of
20 mph speed limits. The minutes of the discussions can be seen on the DCC website using the following link:
http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/CeListDocuments.aspx?MID=1503&RD=Minutes&DF=15%2f09%2f2014&A=1&R=0

Scrutiny considered a report on Speed Limit Policy in Sept 2015. The minutes of the meeting can be seen on the DCC website using the following link:
http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/CeListDocuments.aspx?MID=1511&RD=Minutes&DF=11%2f09%2f2015&A=1&R=0

Devon County Council Traffic Policy Note DTP 34/05 – Local Speed Limits
This Policy Note DTP 34/05 sets out the criteria for introducing speed limits in Devon

Devon County Council Traffic Advice DTP 34/05 – Local Speed Limits
Policy DTP 34/05 sets out the criteria for introducing speed limits in Devon, this advice note gives further guidance to the
implementation of those speed limits – includes planning guidance.

Local Speed Limits - Assessment [Speed Limit Review]
                            Local Speed Limits – Assessment [Speed Limit Review]

APM | Access Protection Markings

APM 2015-11-12 10.01.30
Access Protection Marking in Newman Road

The Highway Code [Rule 243] states DO NOT stop or park at a number of places, including:

  • where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles
  • in front of an entrance to a property

However, some drivers choose to ignore this. It is on these occasions that the Access Protection Markings can act as a reminder to drivers.

Access Protection Markings – APMs – are the H-shapped white lines at placed on the road surface alongside dropped kerbs and seemed to have been first introduced by Devon County Council to tackle the problem. They are now seen as a standard form of marking prescribed in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions, which are published by Government.

The Traffic Signs Manual [TSM]  published by the Department for Transport, gives guidance on the use of APM and says that they may be laid on part of the carriageway which should be kept clear of parked vehicles either outside an entrance to off-street premises, or where the kerb is dropped to provide a convenient crossing place for pedestrians.

Access protection markings are advisory markings only and cannot be enforced like regular parking restrictions as there are no legal traffic orders behind them. However, blocking an access, whether there is a line there or not, is classed as obstruction and the police may issue a fixed penalty notice for this.

When access to properties is concerned, it is only legally classed as obstruction if a vehicle is prevented from exiting a driveway. However, the police maydecide to act on any situation of access obstruction.

Although the marking is not legally enforceable, the manual suggests that , if used sparingly, ATMs may be helpful in discouraging inconsiderate parking, particularly where a problem is isolated and a Traffic Regulation Order could not be justified or easily enforced.

 

For more information see figure 22-4 (diagram 1026.1) on page 134 of TSM Chapter 5 – Road Markings 2003.

Screen shot 2016-02-09 at 05.28.44

In order to ensure that this marking is used to maximum effect, DCC have set out qualifying criteria to ensure that ATMs are used only at appropriate locations.

In 2006, DCC policy was:
To provide an Access Protection Marking (APM) at a dropped kerb or other private access, whether vehicular or pedestrian, when there is a recognised problem.

  • At a private vehicle access for a disabled blue badge holder.
  • At a single private access for a number of properties to maintain emergency services vehicular access.
  • At a direct pedestrian access from a property to the carriageway.
  • At a dropped kerb provided for the benefit of pedestrians or wheel chair users.
  • Where there is an overriding traffic management or road safety reason for keeping an access clear.
  • As a part of an overall scheme of waiting restrictions.

Early in 2011, DCC told me that APMs were only nomrmally  being considered where the owner/occupier also holds a disabled parking ‘Blue Badge’, but a case would be looked into on an individual basis where it can be shown there are exceptional circumstances

When the matter of ATMs was discussed at meeting of Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee held on 22 April 2014, where the officers report outlined:

At present an APM may be provided at a private vehicle access used by a disabled Blue badge holder. The applicant should be the Blue badge holder, and normally the driver or regular passenger of the vehicle. The vehicle should be based at the applicant’s property and the driver is also resident.

Alternatively, an APM can be provided if the local highways officer confirms there is a recognised problem at one of the following locations:

  1. ar a single private access for 3 or more premises;
  2. at a direct pedestrian access from a property to the carriageway;
  3. at a dropped kerb or a direct access provided for the benefit of pedestrians or wheelchair uses; or 
  4. where there is an overriding traffic management or road safety reason for keeping an access clear.

The report also states that DCC reserves the right to remove an APM and suggests that each time an APM is considered for remarking [when faded, or after a road has been resurfaced] it must be confirmed that the above criteria are met.

However current guidance on ATMs is outlined on the DCC website and states:
We may provide access protection bar markings when there is a recognised problem: 

  • at a private access for a disabled blue badge holder which has dropped kerb access to a driveway or garage
  • at a single private access for a number of properties to maintain access for emergency services vehicles

Phone 0345 155 1004 if you believe that your property needs markings for one of these reasons.

The cost to place an APM is approximately £80 and the cost is  currently met by DCC’s On-Street Parking budget.

But that might be the case in the future – DCC are looking at an option to charge applicants for a new APM as part of their public consultation on parking for people with disabilities [consultation ends 12 January 2015].

The options include:

Screen shot 2016-02-09 at 06.30.15

2015-06-09 11.32.00
APM alternative marking v1 in Oak Street
2015-06-09 11.31.15
APM alternative marking v2 in Oak Street

                                          

 

Exeter’s Strategic Cycle Network

Devon County Council are refreshing their Cycling Strategy [Devon Cycle Strategy: The Next Period, November 2009] and a report on the the new Cycling and Multi-Use Trail Network Strategy [Appendix 2 HERE] was an agenda item for the DCC Cabinet meeting on 08 April 2015.

The minutes of the meeting record:

The Cabinet considered the Report of the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment on the proposed, revised, Transport Infrastructure Plan and Cycle Strategy reflecting the new funding regime introduced for 2015/16 and the increased involvement of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in delivering transportation schemes, both of which complemented the Local Transport Plan for 2011-2026.

The suggested Transport Infrastructure Plan set out how the County Council would respond to the changes and detailed the infrastructure priorities for the period 2014-2030 while the new Cycling and Multi-Use Trail Network Strategy prioritised future plans and proposals for developing the cycle and leisure route network, recognising the future financial challenges.

While recognising the work already undertaken across Devon to deliver high quality cycle routes, the Cabinet Member for Highway Management and Flood Prevention recognised the need not only to develop further projects to connect cycle routes to major development sites (and to have schemes ready to implement and when resources permitted) but also to respond to those concerns expressed at the use of and access to existing routes caused in part by their popularity and the work done generally to promote cycling in Devon.

The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, environmental impact, risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) set out in the Head of Service s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:

It was MOVED by Councillor Leadbetter, SECONDED by Councillor Hughes, and
RESOLVED that the revised Transportation Infrastructure Plan and the Cycling and Multi-Use Trail Network Strategy be approved.

Exeter Civic Society questions DCC’s commitment to reduce congestion in Exeter, as is outlined in this press release. Contact details can be found at the end of the press release.

Now it seems Devon County Council is hoping to put forward a funding bid to improve cycling infrastructure to the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership [HotSW LEP] which, if prioritised, would then be submitted as part of a wider bid to Government for Growth Deal funding.

As part of the preparation for this bid, DCC have just concluded a month-long public consultation exercise on Exeter’s Strategic Cycle Network which ran from 14 July – 14 August 2014.

Details on this were available on the Express & Echo website on 15 July 2015 – Public given chance to shape Exeter’s cycle network

DCC asked their transport consultants, Jacobs, to draw up some initial thoughts for 3 cycle routes to become part of Exeter’s Strategic Cycle Network:
E3: Redhayes Bridge to City Centre
E4: Redhayes Bridge to University
E9 Newcourt to City Centre

The DCC consultation pages give all sorts of details with maps, along with the aims and challenges to be faced as Devon CC try to develop a network of urban cycle routes.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 09.08.35
Overview map of proposed Exeter Strategic Cycle Routes

The cycle route plans are very much in the early stages of planning and the suggested routes are definitely not fixed.  This initial consultation period is being run so that all options and issues can be considered at an early stage, to help shape the plans before any detailed design or formal planning process is implemented.

So far, so good.

But it seems that route E3 has caused some controversy.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 09.12.45
Proposed route of E3: Redhayes Bridge to City Centre – note dotted blue route as alternative to cycle-path through Higher Cemetery

There is a proposal for part of the route to pass around the perimeter of Higher Cemetery – although it is important to note that the map also details an alternative route along Hanover Road.

getPart
Alternative route, avoiding Higher Cemetery

 

Concerns have been raised  – Mapped: New Cranbrook to Exeter cycle route will take riders through city cemetery [E&E, 29 July 2015] and Anger over plans for cycle path through Exeter cemetery [E&E, 03 August 2015]. There are plenty of comments appended to these articles, and even more to their Facebook links.

Some local residents think that this is part of a planning application – it need to be stated clearly that Devon County Council [as Local Highways Authority] has NOT lodged any planning application with Exeter City Council [as Local Planning Authority].

As yet, there are no definite timescales for the project as funding is yet to be sought.

Indeed, it’s my guess that if/when funding is found it maybe only 1 or 2 or the 3 proposals can be advanced.

However, DCC are keen to schemes ready to go so that they can be implemented once funding has been identified.  Despite the online public consultation ending on 14 August, they will be ongoing dialogue with numerous groups and individuals to help shape the plans further.

Exeter HATOC | Pavement parking

Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC] meets on 28 July 2015 and once again is set to discuss the issue of pavement parking

10. Update on Parking on Pavements

In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Owen has requested that the Committee consider this matter

Presentation by the Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste

Electoral Division: all in Exeter

When Devon County Council took over parking enforcement on 08 May 2008, there wasn’t time to transfer the provisions of the Exeter Act 1987 at the same time.

Since then parking on pavements has been a constant feature on Exeter HATOC’s agend

02/02/12

9. Parking on Pavements and Enforcement
In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Owen has asked that the Committee consider this item

Report of the Head of Highways and Traffic Management ( HTM/12/4 – text only | pdf ) (Page 23) on details of the relevant Act and enforcement.

Electoral Divisions: All in Exeter

*118. Parking on Pavements and Enforcement
(In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Owen had asked that the Committee consider this item)

The Committee noted the report of the Head of Highways and Traffic Management (HTM/12/4 – text only | pdf ) on proposals for the County Council to take over parking enforcement from the Police (decriminalisation) regarding provisions within an Exeter City Council local Act implemented in 1987 in respect of prohibition of parking on verges, central reservations and footways.

The Neighbourhood Highway Group Manager reported that the Department of Transport has now published a Statutory Instrument that amends the schedules in the Traffic Management Act 2004 to decriminalise prohibition of parking on verges, central reservations and footways in Exeter City. The County Council would now check that the signs indicating the restricted areas and publicise that the provisions would now be enforced by Civil Enforcements Officers (and not the police). Current exemptions where permitted would still be applicable.

It was MOVED by Councillor Hobden, SECONDED by Councillor Leadbetter and
RESOLVED that this development be welcomed and that the new provisions be implemented as expeditiously as possible following appropriate consultation and publicity.

19/04/12 

10.  Implementation and Enforcement of Parking on Footways and Verges
In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Macdonald has requested that the Committee consider this item.

Electoral Division: All in Exeter

*132 Implementation and Enforcement of Parking on Footways and Verges
(In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Macdonald has requested that the Committee consider this item).

(Councillor Bull attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

The Neighbourhood Highway Group Manager reported that a review of the signage and their replacement was underway. Implementation of the new enforcement powers by the County Council (through the Civil Enforcement Officers) was planned for September 2012. Exemptions would be permitted under the regulations.

The Committee noted the position.

08/11/12

16. Various Highways Matters
In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Bull has requested that the Committee consider the following items:
(b) Update on the pavement parking situation.

*162. Highways Matters
(In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Bull had asked that the Committee consider the following items):
(b) Update on the pavement parking situation.

Although arising from a by-law from Exeter City Council, Devon County Council – as highways agency – are responsible for signage, etc. DfT have advised that additional signage is required (at intervals of around 400m) – how has this changed from the situation prior to 2008 change of parking enforcement operation? It is NOT a TRO matter but I’ve been advised that we should discuss a scheme for members to add additional exemptions to those that already have such exemptions (like Sussex Cl and Wiltshire Cl in Cowick).

The Head of Highways and Traffic Management reported that detailed discussion between the County Council and the Department of Transport were continuing. In the interim any suggested exemptions proposed by Members should be referred to the Exeter Neighbourhood Highway Team (Devon County Council) to assess.

22/07/14

10. Parking on Pavement
In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Owen has requested that the Committee consider this matter.

Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste to report.

Electoral Divisions: All in Exeter

*71 Parking on Pavements
(Councillor Bull attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Owen had requested that the Committee consider what action could be taken to reduce parking on pavements.

The Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste reported that following consultation with the Department for Transport he was developing proposals and options, in consultation with other local authorities and industry associations, to enable enforcement of parking on pavement restrictions whilst still maintaining, as appropriate, exemptions in respect of the more narrow and congested urban roads.

It was MOVED by Councillor Owen, SECONDED by Councillor Prowse and
RESOLVED that a report on proposals relating to enforcement of parking on pavements restrictions be presented to the next meeting of this Committee.

10/11/14

8. Parking on footways
Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste to report.

Electoral Divisions: All in Exeter

*82 Parking on footways
The Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste reported on the Pavement Parking Bill 2014-15 proceeding through Parliament to make provision for the safety, convenience and free movement on pavements of disabled people, older people, people accompanying young children, and other pavement users; to clarify, strengthen and simplify the law relating to parking on pavements in England and Wales; and for connected purposes. It was anticipated that the Bill would also cover inappropriate parking on verges. The County Council had made representation on this matter to the British Parking Association and the Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London (PATROL) who would be consulting with other local authorities to ascertain best practice on how to deal with this matter in the interim.

Pending statutory and best practice guidance the County Council would not be proposing any policy changes but that a report would be submitted to Cabinet on future options at the appropriate time.

 

Some thoughts on Part Night Street Lighting ahead of switch-off on 01/04/14

Over the past few years, I’ve spoken to many people – and received e-mails from others – about the introduction of part-night street lighting in Exeter, so much so that I’ve put together some thoughts

Many thanks for your comments on the plan to introduce part-night street lighting [PNSL]  throughout Exeter over the coming months.

I have taken a huge interest in this matter and have blogged on the subject.

The journey to the introduction of PNSL in Exeter has been a long and hard road – let me try and summarise some of that journey ( trying searching the Express and Echo website for some of the background).

It is the upper-tier local authority Devon County Council (rather than Exeter City Council) that is responsible for street-lighting across the city. However they have no statutory duty to have them on throughout the night – they only have a specific duty to maintain those street lights that they do provide.

In 2006 DCC embarked on a carbon-reduction programme to reduce carbon footprint and save costs.

Currently DCC is repsonsible for over 72,00 street lights countywide (including 12,000 in Exeter), costing an estimated £3.4m in electricity (in 2011) and producing nearly 20,000 tonnes of CO2  every year.This is about 30% of DCC’s annual emissions of almost 62,000 tonnes – the equivalent of the total annual enegry use ofg 7,3000 Devon homes or a town about the size of Honiton.

With the combined pressures of rising energy prices and the need to reduce emissions to prevent dangerous climate change, DCC  has decided that action is required to reduce energy consumption in street lighting.

A number of options have were assessed, and it was decided that  the most cost-effective solution is to follow the lead of the Highway Agency and turn off non-essential street lighting from 12:30am to 5:30am.

It is estimated that this could save up to 4,000 tonnes of CO2  and reduce the present energy bill by £450,000. These emissions savings would go a long way to meet both national and local emissions reduction targets.

DCC have come up with a PNSL policy which can be found at:

http://www.devon.gov.uk/streetlightingpolicypartnightlighting.pdf

INTRODUCTION

The aim of this Policy revision is to ensure that the following objectives are met:

  •  Savings in energy consumption are actively pursued to reduce carbon emissions and the effect of rising energy costs
  •  That the night-time safety of road users and members of the community is considered at all times.
  •  That street lighting assists in the reduction of crime and fear of crime.
  •   That good street lighting design minimises the effect on the environment whilst enhancing the night-time ambience
  •  To provide public lighting that is cost effective, taking into account energy conservation and sustainability.
  •  To identify criteria for the provision of street lighting and for duration and timing of lighting operation.
  •  Existing part night lighting areas will not be changed to all night lighting except where there is evidence of night time crime occurring to no street lighting
  •  Existing all night lighting will be maintained on designated A and B roads and other routes as agreed from time to time with local police and parish and town councils. Where appropriate, reduced lighting using dimming technology will be considered, together with part-night operation of certain routes subject to a risk- management approach.

To implement the policy DCC have come up with 2 options for street lighting across the county, depending on the location,:

  • Part-night lighting in residential areas. Meaning that the hours that streetlights are on will be between dusk and 12:30am and again from 5:30am until dawn. Exceptions will apply where there are overriding safety issues.
  • All night and late night dimming lighting on main roads and areas of high night-time activity, such as town centres. Street lights will remain lit all night, but consideration will be given to dimming lighting where possible.

DCC have been rolling out PNSL across the county since and first tried to introduce PNSL for Exeter in 2010.

In April 2012, DCC Cabinet approved a £1.7m investment in a new Street Lighting Monitoring System which would allow for much more flexibility in the operation of PNSL by providing direct control of every light connected to the system.

http://www.devon.gov.uk/loadtrimdocument?url=&filename=CDW/12/11.CMR&rn=12/WD405&dg=Public

DCC wanted to press ahead with introducing the PNSL scheme across Exeter last autumn, but direct intervention by Exeter Labour councillors   – both City and Country – meant there was a series of consultation events and presentations across the city.

We tried to get them to look at the option of replacing the current sodium lamps with LED lamps but they were not prepared to consider this.
Another concern we raised with the fear of increased crime due to PNSL. We were told that in areas of Devon where PNSL has been introduced, there have been some isolated increases of crime, but the feared increases have not materialised and in some instances the police have reported that crime rates have fallen. However, police will have access to the control equipment to switch the street lights back on if necessary, and DCC have told us that they will consider switching the lights back on if crime does increase.

The initial plans for Cowick meant that the only major A and B roads that would remain lit  – and the only major road in the ward is the B3121 Pocombe Hill/Dunsford Road running Pocombe Bridge to the First and Last junction at Cowick Street.

The other concession that the Labour cllrs got was that the plans for PNSL would be rolled out in a phased way across the city ward by ward over a period of 12 months or so.

The Labour councillors for Cowick thought that this wasn’t good enough – and pressed for Cowick Lane and Buddle Lane to be added to that list of “major roads”. It was also agreed that the lane running from Buddle Lane to Merrivale (alongside the entrance to Bowhill School and St Philips Court) would remain lit as a “walking route”.

DCC will continue to consider the effects of PNSL and will continue to consult until 6 month after the final areas are converted (the last wards are expected to be on PNSL by March 2015).

Members of the public can make comments on the PNSL scheme to DCC on the normal customer services phone number 0845 155 1004, but residents can only use the form on DCC’s dedicated website for Exeter PNSL

http://new.devon.gov.uk/streetlighting/part-night-lighting/partnightlighting-exeter/

They can also e-mail:

lighting@devon.gov.uk

or write in to:

Street Lighting, Devon County Council, Matford Lane offices, County Hall, Topsham Road, EXETER EX2 4QW.

I suggest that any comments on PNSL in Exeter are directed to DCC, but can I suggest that you keep your local (ECC and DCC) councillors informed on what you’ve said to Devon County Council

I have asked DCC to update their “dedicated” website on PNSL to take account of the new routes that will remain lit – and the current proposed schedule (DCC are reluctant on this point “as they wish to learn from the PNSL roll-out in Alphington and Cowick)

Like you, I am still waiting to see the comments on the consultation posted on the site – they were promised for the end of February!

I have been told that DCC plan to issue a media release in the next day or two to annouce the commencement of Exeter PNSL – I await this with interest

I am looking  forward to seeing the stars over Exeter over the coming months and I hope that the fear of crime is not realised by an increase in actual crime. By introducing PNSL, DCC will hope to save a significant amount of money – enabling them to protect other essential services.

But please be advised, I and my Cowick colleagues will continue to monitor how the PNSL policy affects residents in the ward.

Pulling my finger out about the potholes around Cowick

I’ve been contacted by a a resident about a number of issues, including the number of potholes around the ward.

The roads around here, notably Somerset Avenue, Sussex Close & Dorset Avenue are an absolute disgrace. 

They a patchwork quilt of potholes, some of which have been bodged up but a lot of them have been left untouched.

This is what we have been doing about the potholes

As ever, this is a Devon County Council issues, in their remit as Highways Authority.

Throughout the county, Devon are budgeting for £35m a year for road resurfacing – unfortunately it costs £65m to keep them in the current – appalling – state.

Nothing I can say or do can change that decision.

But I am working with my colleagues to draw attention to state of the roads in Cowick.

I’m not sure if you saw any of the articles in the Express & Echo but we recently ran a petition about the condition of Dorset Avenue – I counted over 200 potholes along the entire length.

That petition was presented to Full Council in December, and we are now waiting for a response from DCC. I will admit I am not hopeful of a good outcome. But I have other measures up my sleeve to take this further.

It’s not as favouritism that we were focussing on Dorset Avenue, but because of the vast number of potholes. Be assured that  we are aware that all roads throughout the ward are, similiarly, in a terrible state of repair.

So although many roads are in desperate need of a resurface, as it stands at present DCC will only tackle what are described as ‘safety defects’ – 40mm deep (that’s the size of a golf ball) and at least 30cm long in one direction, leading to the patchwork you describe.

I will continue to walk around Cowick with my trusty golf ball and  point out to DCC when I believe a pothole is big enough to be a ‘safety defect’.