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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:46 am 
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I believe the only reason behind the shift is corporate greed from both, lighting manufacturers, and the energy giants!
Re-furbishing areas by over lighting them with higher wattage, more expensive LED lanterns, (than what was there before), brings in more profits for the above!, CO2 emissions and global warming are an after thought!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:11 pm 
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Thankfully in the last couple of years there has been a move away from the previous trend of lighting always getting taller, brighter and in greater numbers. I believe the economic downturn helped to reign in the lighting binge that was happening.

On the South Coast PFI, whilst lighting on most streets is lower power and less bright than before, roads still appear just as well lit, and more pleasantly lit at that. Here are some examples from near my house. In my road there were previously Philips MI26s running 35W SOX (circuit power about 63W each). These have been replaced on the existing columns with WRTL Libras running a mixture of 24W and 36W PL-L lamps (negligible control gear losses). Meanwhile, on the distributor road the existing 8m columns with GEC Z9454s running 90W SOX (circuit power of probably around 110W) with new 6m columns at the same spacings with WRTL Arcs running 60W CosmoPolis lamps (circuit power of about 68W). With this relighting alone considerable energy savings have been made. However, street lighting policy is for the new lanterns to only operate at 75% maximum, with a part night reduction down to 50%, so even more energy is saved through dimming.

You may think "how can dimmed 60W Cosmo be any good on a distributor road once lit by 90W SOX?" You may also think "how can dimmed 24W compact fluorescent be any good at all?" The fact of the matter is, the road with 60W Cosmo still feels very overlit, whilst the road lit with 24/36W compact fluorescent feels sufficiently lit and has a very pleasant night time ambience. Even as a street lighting enthusiast, trying to compare dimmed lighting with undimmed lighting has proved difficult. I've grown accustomed to the new street lighting. It may be dimmer than before, but it really doesn't feel that way. Brighter lighting doesn't mean better lighting, it just means higher bills for no advantage.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:44 am 
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Some good points being offered here. I too would welcome a reduction of main road lighting, not simply to save energy, but also to bring some common sense back into the equation. For too long, official guidance was for high performance SON lanterns either as a first choice installation or to replace SOX. Whilst the perceived improvement in colour was generally welcomed, the intrusion of these 10m columns combined with the more concentrated output, was generally out of scale with its surroundings or perceived risk.

With the advent of out of town shopping developments, enterprise parks and regeneration zones, the lighting "binge" as it has been popularly called, had really started to pack some calories.

Not that the councils or developers were totally to blame, the fashionable policy at the time which is still in force today, was that lighting was a serious weapon against crime. It therefore seemed logical that good quality lighting would also reduce the fear of crime too! Lighting sales literature of the period showed "before and after shots" of dismal SOX lit streets, full of shadows to trip up the unwary, before being blasted with SON from a great height. Pensioners once too afraid to go out to their club in the evening, were now only a few hundred watts from salvation. Bear in mind this was before our "carbon footprint" was being measured, so it was a case of "more the merrier".

Now in 2015, those we elected continue to have to make some difficult choices. Some decisions whilst creating benefit to some, will have a negative effect on others. Whilst reducing the public lighting will take a little of the load out of our diminishing generating capacity, it would be foolish to think that it will mean cheaper council tax or electric bills. Profit on investment still has to be made, and I think that as one income stream reduces due to less streetlamps being lit, other income (from domestic consumers) will have to increase.

On the other hand, the street lantern market has since been transformed from evolution to revolution, almost overnight! Its a pity that GEC, Revo and Eleco couldn't stick around long enough to join the party.

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"I can't think what you want to go to London for, you won't find any better lampposts there..."
L.S. Lowry. 1887-1976.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:18 pm 
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Gramma6 wrote:
E-On could do with a lesson from you Sotonsteve. They are responsible for Blackpool's PFI and in some areas have replaced 70w SON at 5m with 90w CPO at 8m. That would be all well and good if the lighting needed that kind of upgrade but in many cases this 90w CPO is used in quite, narrow streets, even in cul-de-sacs! I can see Blackpool's electric bill rising somewhat in the next few years, when the idea of these PFIs is partly supposed to be about making lighting more energy-efficient!  :roll:



I wish I had known about this site since its inception! Only through researching some pre-war lighting in Cleveleys have I discovered its existence.

Whilst I realise that the post above is now three years old, I think it is worth making a comment, and excusing the pun, shedding some light on matters!

The Blackpool PFI is riddled with anomalies!

When the works commenced there was a certain amount of logicality about the designs - however in autumn 2010, six months in, and for no apparent reason, instead of renewing existing 5/6 metre 50/70w SON installations generally with 6 metre columns and 60w CPO lamps, whole areas, including indeed cul-de-sacs, acquired 8 metre columns and 90w lamps, (occasionally 60w). In fact Woodland Grove even has 140w lamps at 8 metres on a road not 20 ft wide! illogically, the adjacent Cumberland Avenue, at least 50% wider, with more traffic, and a wider column spacing, has 90w lanterns.

All of a sudden, in the early summer of 2011, the practice stopped and 6 metres became the norm again, and roads that did warrant 8 metre columns did not get them. We even had roads previously (and correctly) lit at 8 metres reduced to 6 metres!

To this day a large numbers of columns have not been fitted with the lanterns intended, as shown on the published designs.

I could go on!

The success or otherwise of any PFI depends on the authority having capable competent officers to oversee the project.

In Blackpool, an authority bereft of ability at both elected and appointed levels, it is hardly surprising that so many mistakes were made - the whole concept was 'sold' to weak ineffective councillors on a false premise.

Having said that, thank goodness the end result has not been the woefully inadequate side road lighting now being rolled out under the Lancashire CC regime, along with their crass 20 mph speed limit.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:16 pm 
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It wasn`t that long ago I remember some side streets in Fleetwood being lit with 90W SOX in Thorn Alpha Nines!
This struck me as a bit of `overkill`, I don`t know if their still in use today though?
Where I am, Cheshire Highways had a bit of a mad spell in the early 2000s, where the road at the end of our street, (having a total of 38 columns), fitted with 35W SOX, that were the original 80W MBF columns from the 60s, were replaced with a total of  76 new ones housing 50W SON-T plus!

Now don`t get me wrong, I would rather have 50W SON-T plus than 35W SOX, but to double the load, from the original 1824W, (inc gear losses), to 4212W made no energy saving sense to me?

These were Industria Vectras, with mag gear, but all new replacements now, they have gone with 50W SON-T plus in Urbis Sapphires, on HF gear, and they have also mounted the new ones higher up, which looks better to me.
Still about 85% of our 35W SOX remain though, but I would like to see a few LED going in, but there's none at all here yet.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:37 pm 
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At the moment I am at my dads which is a five minute walk away from Woodland Grove and along nearby Hornby Road the columns have been reselected to Urbis Evolo's running SON but the columns are extremeley close together so the bill will as far as I can see (unless they specified a lower wattage) be twice as high.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:40 pm 
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sevenman96 wrote:
At the moment I am at my dads which is a five minute walk away from Woodland Grove and along nearby Hornby Road the columns have been reselected to Urbis Evolo's running SON but the columns are extremeley close together so the bill will as far as I can see (unless they specified a lower wattage) be twice as high.


Not sure where you are coming from on this! There is little difference in energy costs between the PFI and previous lighting schemes on Hornby Road.

The original electrical lighting installed in 1953, to replace gas, consisted of 32 Stanton 8B columns with 400w MB Viatron lanterns.

In the aftermath of the cancellation of the proposed inner ring road, the central section was relit in 1976 with CU Octagonal 10 metre columns and Alpha 3 lanterns with 250w SON lamps.

In the ensuing years, these central section columns had the lanterns changed on the Highway brackets to MRL 6250 SON/T,  and in a further change, the concrete brackets were removed, the mounting height and existing projection were maintained, but with sleeves and Vectra lanterns.

As regards the remaining Stanton 8B columns on the western and eastern sections, in 1981 the Viatron lanterns were removed and Alpha 3  250w SON lanterns were fitted to the existing 8B columns and brackets.

Subsequently, in 1995, the 'B' brackets and Alpha 3 lanterns were removed from the Stanton 8 columns. The mounting height was raised to 10 metres with 0.5 metre projection brackets to which MRL6150 SON/T lanterns were fitted.

The new 2011 scheme consists of 10 metre conical aluminium columns - 36 in number -with post mounted Evolo 3 lanterns and 150w SON/T lamps.

On this basis, energy consumption has continued to decline throughout more than 61 years of electric lighting on the road.


Last edited by glen adair on Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:32 pm 
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I stand corrected, I didn't realise the wattage difference.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:47 pm 
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GreatNorburyStDepot wrote:
The rot started a fair while ago. Understandably, many members of Ukastle regret the phase out of SOX and mercury, (with their classic "survivors") in favour of these trendy lighting schemes. When the reasons for doing so (higher energy efficiency, CCTV coverage, running costs, CO2 etc) as outlined already in this topic struggle to add up (ie the new lamp uses even more energy or gives less light than its predecessor) there must be other reasons behind the shift.
I would say the rot started around the late 90s when SOX began to be phased out and Albany's became the defacto in almost every remotely historic market town.

The demise of MBF is fine, it is too energy inefficient and there are better alternatives with similar light quality (particularly Induction), but there were too many places where SOX served it's purpose well and switching to SON didn't really benefit anyone except the contractors, as the lamps were cheaper. Because hardly anyone in the general public is informed about the impact of different light sources, local councils either upgrade for the sake of 'improvement' or are swayed by the manufacturers, marketing and general hype. 'Of course we must have LEDs, right? Look how cool they look in this photo compared to what we have...and look at the numbers!'


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:35 am 
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Several of us on Ukastle "knew" this was the case but a new study says Less lighting has no impact on crime or collisions.


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