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Nottinghamshire County Council - Proud of our past, ambitious for our future

Street lighting

Faulty street lighting

Report a problem

Have you seen an unlit street light, sign or bollard? Or a light, sign or bollard that has been damaged? If so, let us know using our online fault reporting form or tel: 0300 500 80 80.

Normal faults which are not dangerous will usually be investigated and repaired as soon as possible. Sometimes, however, the electricity supply is faulty and repairs can take longer as they have to be carried out by the electricity company.

If there is a safety problem with a light or sign, such as exposed wires, it will be made safe without delay.

Reducing energy costs

We are responsible for around 110,000 lighting columns, illuminated signs, bollards and traffic signals around the county. We only maintain lighting on public roads and though there is no legal obligation to do this, street lighting is recognised as a good way to assist with accident and crime reduction in some areas. We are not responsible for lighting car parks, garage areas, parks or recreation grounds. These often fall under the responsibility of the borough/district council or a private land owner. 

Energy costs for this year are expected to be £5.4m and rising. This accounts for nearly 20% of the total highway revenue budget. 

Central Government funding to the County Council has been severely reduced, meaning we have to make savings on our existing budgets in order to meet rising costs of electricity and the carbon charge that is being introduced from April 2014 onwards.

There is a large variety of lighting in Nottinghamshire and therefore no ‘one solution’ when it comes to making improvements or reducing energy. On the main roads we use higher wattage white lights as the colour definition is better for road safety purposes and crime reduction especially within areas with CCTV cameras.

On smaller residential roads the lighting tends to be at a much lower level. Much of our lighting stock is old and gives out an orange glow. These lights are very inefficient and are slowly being replaced with the white lights which give the same light output but cost a lot less to run.

Some of the measures we are taking to reduce energy costs are explained below. By introducing these policy changes, we hope the energy saving project will save £1.5m off the energy bill by April 2017.

Part night lighting

As part of the energy reduction project we undertook a part night lighting scheme. This is where lights are turned off between the hours of midnight to 5.30am in mainly residential areas. These schemes were completed in some villages in the Bassetlaw and Rushcliffe areas. 

The scheme was met with some concern from residents with regard to crime and following requests for lights to be switched back on in some areas, the introduction of further part night lighting schemes was suspended and the policy reviewed in September 2013. The scheme now allows areas to have their lights back on if the community as a whole wish for that to happen. The local Councillor will be kept informed but their approval will not be required. Some local areas have got a petition together or in some instances the Parish Council have carried out surveys in order to seek the views of the residents. We can only put the lights back on if the majority wish for this to happen. We cannot accept requests from individuals. 

We have had requests of every other light to remain on and although this seems a sensible approach it can cause safety concerns on the road as it leaves dark shadows, can dazzle drivers and has caused problems in other authorities. 

Where possible we will work with the local community to come up with the best solution for the residents' needs in order to keep the majority of residents happy

Dimming of high wattage lights

Lighting levels need to be at their best during peak hours when traffic volumes are high; outside of these hours levels can be reduced. We have therefore started a 2 year programme of dimming the majority of high wattage lights around the County when traffic volumes reduce at night. 

As these lights are high wattage, when dimmed they show very little difference in brightness. Therefore the programme will give great savings in terms of energy and carbon reduction but with very little, if any, noticeable effect to the road user.

We are consulting with the Police, Crime Partnership Groups and Accident and Investigation Team in order to identify any areas which should be kept at full power because of crime or accident concerns and these will be built in to the programme.

LED lighting

As part of the policy change in September 2013, agreement was also given to move to LED lighting for all new lighting installations and for some lantern conversions. The new LED lanterns will be dimmed between the hours of 10pm and 7am in order to produce further savings and prolong the life of the lanterns.

The cost of LEDs has come down dramatically and is now a much more viable option. They still cost slightly more than the alternative, but this is quickly paid back by the reduction in energy and maintenance costs.

We have carried out various trials of LED lamps on residential roads and some high wattage roads. Lighting levels are designed to meet the British Standards BS5489 and we’ve received positive feedback from residents, the Police, Crime Partnership Groups and Road Safety experts.

We will therefore be replacing lanterns with LEDs as they fail. We have also been replacing illuminated bollards with LEDs where possible and are moving to LED sign lights shortly.

We are aware there may be some concerns about us moving to LED lighting as the light can be seen as being a bit harsh when compared to the warm orange glow of the traditional lanterns, especially when it’s first changed over. However, the white light gives exceptional colour definition and savings of between 45-60% in energy with further savings in carbon emissions, so they are much better for the environment. The LEDs are angled to only light public roads so will give less light interference to residents and light pollution to the night sky.

LED Retrofit Gear Trays

We have also been retrofitting our existing street lights with new LED lamps. This involves installing a tray with an energy efficient lamp into the existing lantern, therefore replacing the old inefficient orange light.

Taking this approach of adapting our existing lanterns to the LED retrofit trays offers a simple solution to reduce energy usage and maintenance costs, without having to pay for a brand new LED lantern. This is similar to installing a new LED lamp in your home but using the existing fitting.

Ideally we would like to retrofit every lantern with an LED lamp where possible, but the LED retrofit trays will only fit inside certain types of lanterns. As there are so many different lantern types it is difficult to come up with a retrofit for all, however we are working towards this. In the meantime there may be roads that have a mixture of yellow and white light.

The cost reduction of retrofitting existing lanterns with LED lamps on a typical residential road is as follows:

   Old 55W SOX Lamp  New 22W LED Lamp
 Cost in energy use per year  £30.00  £9.50

Capital replacement programme

Our capital replacement programme concentrates on replacing columns which are at the end of their lifespan. Although from the outside the column may appear to be in good condition, there is often failure within the foundation of the column or from the inside which can't easily be seen.

Capital schemes therefore replace all columns on a road of a certain age or ones that are identified as poor by our Lighting Engineers when carrying out routine inspections. LED lanterns which dim between the hours of 10pm to 7am will also be used on these schemes, so to some residents it may seem like a big change all at once.

If a whole road of lighting columns needs replacing it is best to re-design the lighting using up to date lanterns to ensure we conform with the current British Standards. This often results in the need to move some columns to ensure the right lighting levels are maintained.

We are very careful when positioning columns not to affect residents and are restricted by such things as windows, driveways, trees and underground services. We sometimes receive complaints from residents who have lights outside their house because of light intrusion into bedroom windows and therefore we endeavour to install columns in between properties or at gable ends where possible to be fair to all.

If you have any queries about any of the above energy saving measures please call 0300 500 80 80.

Street Lighting Code of Practice 

Nottinghamshire County Council have recently updated their Street Lighting Code of Practice along with Lighting Specification.

The Code of Practice sets out and provide guidance on the County Council's policies for the provision of design, specification and maintenance of street lighting on adopted public highway and Rights of Ways in Nottinghamshire.

A link to the document is below:

Street Lighting Code of Practice [PDF]

Any further queries should be directed to the Highways Street Lighting Team.

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