Seeing the light

The York Council is reviewing its street lighting polices this week.

A report from officials says that there are still some contradictions between good lighting standards and the preference of some for a subdued City centre.

The design of lamppost units has certainly been a source of conflict in the historic core for several decades, so sensitivity is needed.

This should fall short of reintroducing gas lighting, artificial smog and Hansom Cabs.

Safety is also a, key concern particularly near the rivers with too many deaths in recent years attributable to people falling in. There is a particularly dangerous area near Lendal bridge where the steps down to the Esplanade are poorly lit. It doesn’t seem to be within the wit and wisdom of experts to find an acceptable solution to problems like this.

But it is not just Conservation Areas which are causing a conflict in priorities. The Councils new policies favour siting lampposts to the rear of a footpath (rather than the kerb edge). This is a sensible move as most moving traffic on the carriageways these days enjoys good vehicle lighting. Few pedestrians routinely carry a torch with them at night.

The policy may also reduce the number of lampposts damaged in road traffic accidents.

The Council proposes to hedge its bets when trees are overgrowing footpaths. Rather than lop the trees, the Council will continue to site lampposts on the kerb edge – providing a challenging chicane for those with poor eyesight and unexpected variety for canines.

Street lighting standards in much of the City have been improved in recent years. Many regard the LED units being fitted as a step in the right direct although occasionally there seem to be patches of darkness in some streets.

The LED lamps are carefully focused to avoid “light pollution”, are more reliable and use less electricity.

In a survey undertaken this month in the Chapelfields estate 91% of residents said street lighting was either “Good” or “Satisfactory” (marginally up from the 90% recorded a year earlier).

So that’s one public service which seems to be getting better.

£2 million investment in York’s streetlights

Thousands of York’s ageing streetlights are set for an overhaul through a £2million investment by City of York Council.

The council has a responsibility to maintain over 21,000 streetlights including 5,500 concrete columns across the city.

However, many lights were installed over 50 years ago in the 60s through to the 80s and are at the end of their natural life and are failing to contribute to carbon reduction targets.

Previous schemes have replaced around 1,000 steel and concrete columns and almost half of the city’s streetlights (10,000) with new ‘white lights’ or LED technology.

Approval was given back in February to invest a further £2million council capital funding into a new four-year programme of works to enable the remainder of the lights to be replaced.

These works are now set to get underway to install 2,000 concrete and steel columns and fund structural maintenance checks for 12,000 light columns city wide. All replacement columns with old sodium lights will also be replaced with new white light LEDs.

York Council completes 2015 street light upgrade programme

The Council has completed this years programme of street light upgrades.

The new LED lighting units are expected to use less electricity and be more reliable.

They will also contribute towards reducing the City’s “carbon footprint”

In  total 6017 units have been upgraded during the summer at a cost of nearly £1.5 million.

The Council has not yet announced whether it will go ahead with its threat to “dim” street lights after midnight.

Although the Council claimed that a “dimming” trial had not produced any complaints from the four streets on which it was tried, concerns about security late at night mean that any extension could raise concerns.

In the Westfield ward the following streets have seen upgraded. A complete list of works undertaken across the City can be found by clicking here

Westfield road list

(NB Not all units were necessarily changed in each street)