Lighting on paths and steps in Pentland – an update

Further to my article in May following the site visit with the Street Lighting Partnership Manager and also with the Chair of Community Spirit Action Group, the local residents’ group, to look at the new street lighting in Pentland, yesterday I had a useful meeting with the Director of Neighbourhood Services, some of her housing team, the council’s Service Manager – Community Safety and Resilience and the Street Lighting Partnership Manager.
 
This was primarily about the issue that, because the new lighting is that, because it is focussed on the road and pavements, it does not light paths and steps to housing as well as the old lighting.    I am concerned that in the winter, darker months, lighting could potentially be inadequate.
 
We agreed the following approach which makes sense :
 
• Ensure trees that need trimmed (already identified) are attended to – to maximise the effectiveness of existing lighting.
• After the clocks change in October, undertake measurements of lighting levels on these steps and paths to ensure they meet required levels.
• If there are any locations where lighting needs boosted, static security lights will be progressed.
• The Community Wardens service will meantime monitor any concerns about lighting in the area.

Energy saving street lighting

There has recently been news that Stirling Council is set to save £31m over the next 30 years by installing energy saving street lights. 
 
That local authority is borrowing almost £10m from the Green Investment Bank to install LEDs in 12 000 street lights over the next four years.
 
I think that’s a great initiative and asked the City Council its position on doing so.     I have been advised by the Street Lighting Partnership Manager :
 
“We are currently putting together a business case for LED lighting in the city and the source of funding for this will be given due consideration by our finance colleagues I am sure. 
 
Green Investment Bank is only one of a number of financial sources available to local authorities.”

Logie area – street light replacement

A number of constituents in Logie have contacted me expressing their concerns about the replacement street lighting in parts of the local area.
 
I raised the concerns with the City Council’s Street Lighting Partnership Manager, who advises :
 
“I can confirm that we are currently in the process of replacing some of the lighting columns in the Logie area as part of our agreed capital replacement programme. The existing concrete columns in that area are now in the region of 50 years old and are beyond their expected service life and despite appearing to be robust from the outside are no longer serviceable. Their replacement is with our standard residential column and lantern arrangement which provides the best economical and lighting output.
 
Street lighting is not a planning issue so there is no requirement to consult with members of the public when replacing existing lighting schemes and indeed it is not standard practice to do so. I am sure you will appreciate that with 25,000 lights to maintain in the city this would be an enormous strain on resources should we have to consult every time we need to replace a column and is simply not possible.
 
Historically, columns were placed at the front edge of a footpath (in the days of fewer vehicles) but over the years experience has shown that it is advisable to position them at the rear of the footpath in order to afford them some protection from accidental damage due to vehicles whilst at the same time maximising the available footpath width for wheelchairs and buggies which need to pass. Obviously this is dependent on suitable planting depth being available below ground and hence why we sometimes have to deviate from this rule.
 
I appreciate that the result of this is that it does bring the light source closer to properties and that this can be a concern for some (and yet is welcomed by others). I would state however that the new modern optics contained within the street light are far better at controlling the output of light to where it is needed (i.e. onto the footpaths and carriageway) and away from properties than those previously installed. Nonetheless, it can still be an issue for some residents and in those cases we would always seek to find a compromise position (e.g. the installation of a shield if necessary) with the householder. 
 
We are always happy to discuss such issues and assist where we can.”

Lighting issue – steps from Scott Street to Pentland Avenue – an update

I have previously highlighted residents’ requests for proper lighting on the steps from Scott Street to Pentland Avenue – see below:
The steps are well-used and the adjacent street lighting only gives limited coverage.    Providing traditional lighting would be very costly given the layout and slope and so the council’s Street Lighting Partnership agreed to my request to investigate the viability of solar lighting.
 
I recently asked for an update from the Street Lighting Partnership, who now advise :
 
“I have looked at several option for lighting these steps over the past year or so and I cannot find a suitable option for these steps.     Having looked at solar powered light for the steps and subsequent talks with manufacturers, they all come to the same conclusion (that) there is insufficient sun light during the winter months to sustain power for the light at this latitude.
The cost of excavating and powering a light by the normal means on the steps would run into the thousands of pounds, providing I can get a way leave to track in to the adjacent ground. 
Until I can find an alternative means to power a light or a manufacturer develops a more efficient means of using alternative energy I can not see a way forward with this queries (but) I will continue to pursue a solution for lighting for these steps.    Until then if your constituents do not wish to use the steps in the dark there is a lit alternative route via Scott Street to Pentland Avenue.”
 
I will continue to pursue this matter as having better lighting on the steps would greatly assist residents using them at night.

Lighting concern – Riverside Avenue to Perth Road

Residents have expressed concern that lights on the path under the rail line, between Perth Road and Riverside Avenue (that runs to opposite Wright Avenue), are not working.
 
There are six lights on this path of which only three are working.
 
This is a frequently used path and I have contacted the City Council’s Street Lighting Partnership seeking urgent repair.

Street Lighting – Lower Pleasance/Douglas Street/Brewery Lane

Residents have complained to me that some of the street lighting at Lower Pleasance, Douglas Street and Brewery Lane is obscured by foliage from overgrown trees.   I took this up with the Street Lighting Partnership and have been advised :

We have looked at the various streets mentioned. There are some areas where the trees are obscuring the light.   We will get them cut back in the next couple of days.

Lighting issue – steps from Scott Street to Pentland Avenue

Steps – Scott Street-Pentland Avenue
Last year, I raised, on behalf of residents, the need for lighting on the steps from Scott Street to Pentland Avenue.   The steps are well-used and often by elderly people and are quite dark at night, relying on what light reaches the area from the adjacent roads.
 
At the time, the council’s Street Lighting Partnership advised :
 
“… we looked at putting lights on the stairs.   Unfortunately it’s just not technically feasible and the costs would not justify since there is a lit route via the end of Scott Street.”
 
However, as I have continued to receive requests from residents for lighting here, I have again raised the matter with the Street Lighting Partnership, who have updated me as follows :
 
“I have spent some time looking into alternative method of lighting this footpath.    The position on conventional lighting remains the same. 
I have looked at some solar powered lighting by Philips Lighting and was advised that Solar Lighting it not really feasible in the North Hemisphere as there is insufficient sun light to keep the batteries charged for the whole year. possibly as technology moves a more cost effective and easier method of lighting footpath my become available.
I will continue to pursue the lighting industry for a permanent answer to these problems.”
 
With the agreement of the Street Lighting Partnership, I have asked a contact I have at the University of Dundee, who has expertise in solar lighting, to hopefully provide some advice on this matter that could provide a solution.