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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 12:13 pm 
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sotonsteve wrote:
SOX lamps are becoming very expensive.

It's perhaps becoming clear that even SOX-stronghold counties like Essex and Hertfordshire are beginning to baulk at the increasing cost of re-lamping, hence the introduction of LED lighting (albeit on a small scale for the time being) to protect against these increasing costs in the future. But what happens when you're a parish council worried by the increasing cost of re-lamping SOX, but also unable to switch to LED due to the prohibitively high initial cost?

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Well, this is Weeley Parish Council's answer!

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Weeley is just outside Clacton-on-Sea and still very rural in nature. Some of the lightly-trafficked roads clearly do not need to be lit to the same standard as urban roads (if they were, they would fall under Essex County Council's control), but an occasional pole-mounted lantern is adequate to provide the needed guidance for pedestrians and vehicles.

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And when it comes to re-lamping, bypassing the original control gear and fitting a domestic compact fluorescent seems an ideal way of converting the lantern to white light without breaking the bank. The above three photographs were taken in May 2015.

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The housing estates that do exist in Weeley are lit to the required urban standards, although the lighting is still under the control of the Parish Council. Accordingly, lighting from yesteryear lives on, for example this GEC Z5676 on a GEC ZP3000 coloured plastic column.

Such coloured plastic columns were once common in neighbouring Clacton and invariably had a pale green, blue or turquoise finish, but they were all removed in the mid to late 1980s when they begun to shed fibres. This photograph was taken in January 2009.

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The same column and lantern at night, photographed in May 2015.

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The above GEC Z5676 close-up.  Photograph taken in January 2009.

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The same lantern at night. Photograph taken in May 2015.

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Bypassing the control gear on small SOX lanterns like the Philips MI26 doesn't seem such a bad idea, as Weeley was installing mercury lanterns on the village's estate roads into the late 1980s.

This was despite some earlier estate road mercury lanterns like the GEC Z5590 and the Phosco P149 falling victim to the 1970s energy crisis and being replaced with Thorn Beta 5s and ELECO GR501s.

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Some of the mercury lamps are looking rather dim. This one appeared to have only half the brightness of the mercury lamps in the rest of the street.

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Two main roads run through Weeley - the B1033 to Frinton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze and the B1441 to Little Clacton.

These two roads are the most heavily trafficked roads in the village, and these unusual SON cobra heads complement the existing SON-running Philips small Iridiums, SOX-running Philips MI26s and Thorn Beta 5s and SON-running Thorn Rigas. Even a white-light running Urbis Sapphire has appeared in recent months.

These cobra heads are a bit of an anomaly, even by Parish Council standards, as they are rarely seen elsewhere in my corner of Essex, and certainly not in an urban environment. The above photograph was taken in May 2015.

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One of the column-mounted cobra heads on the B1441 at Weeley. This photograph and the four photographs that follow were taken in June 2011, and the column has since been replaced.

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A day-time view of the above cobra head.

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And a close-up view of the lantern at dusk.

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An ultra close-up view of the underside of the cobra head reveals that it is a Hilclare product, and in line with much of the parish's other lighting, was originally running a mercury bulb.

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A final view of the Hilclare lantern.

A quick search on Google doesn't appear to return any further information on the lantern, e.g. its model number and whether it is still sold. The Hilclare web site does have a couple of street lights listed - a typically SON-looking lantern for metal halide lamps and these, I have to say it, really awful-looking LED lanterns.

Considering the Parish Council have used Hilclare in the past, perhaps it's a good thing that they aren't in a position to purchase LED lanterns just yet!


Last edited by David on Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 1:36 pm 
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Fascinating to see SOX lanterns converted to household CFL. Simple yet effective.

I also see that the GEC Z5676 has the lamp burning cap down, which is never the correct way to burn any SOX lamp. Given the presence of a refractor ring, perhaps this lantern was originally GLS and converted to SOX.


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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 1:48 pm 
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And it could easily be converted to domestic CFL as well!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 3:08 pm 
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SRS201s (180 W) in Potters Bar have been replaced by LED lanterns... as have the Iridiums on the M25/A111 Jct 24 roundabout. Wasteful if you ask me.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 12:49 am 
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That GEC Z5676 is also notable in that is has an aluminium canopy, almost impossible to find on this series of lanterns anywhere other than Essex apparently. The two left in York (short bowl examples) both went this week, one as a column replacement and the other as the LED replacements swept through.... as and when these lanterns get taken down it may be an idea at the very least to keep the metal lids - I have done this with a haul I got about 5 years ago, and it means the manky fibre-shedding GRP canopies can be replaced with the more aesthetically-pleasing ally version.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:29 pm 
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A frustrated local councillor on Canvey Island in Essex purchased two 35W SOX lamps and fitted them himself by balancing a plywood board and work station on the top of his van. He was driven to take such drastic action after the lights went out and both Essex County Council and Castle Point Council refused to claim ownership of the lanterns, leaving residents in the road plunged into darkness over the winter.

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David Marchant, Chief Executive of Castle Point Council, has stated that on no account should residents (including councillors) carry out works to repair streetlights.

Full Southend Echo story here:
Canvey councillor Colin Letchford changes Marine Parade streetlight bulbs in bid to solve row over private road responsibility.

Further reports and pictures: Daily Mail,Daily Express and Daily Mirror.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:05 pm 
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In the London and the South East thread, Paianni wrote:
http://www.ringway.co.uk/our-contracts/term-maintenance-services/hertfordshire/hertfordshire-s-b-c-and-unclassified-roads-led-upgrade

http://www.hertsdirect.org/services/transtreets/highways/highwaysinfo/ledaroads/

All casual replacements for distributor roads since last Autumn have been Amperas mounted post-top on steel columns. Side roads have had a different lantern that I haven't identified yet, but they're also post-top.
In the London and the South East thread, sotonsteve wrote:
Thanks.

So it seems that these plans will still not cull everything, as it suggests only the "all night" lighting is being upgraded to LED, and not the part night lighting.

There was a full council meeting at Essex County Council on the 9th of February 2016 to discuss Essex County Council's new budget. Pages 41 to 45 deal with Infrastructure & Highways Delivery, and there are references to money being set aside (circa £4.5 million in 2016/2017 and £4.75 million in 2017/2018) for an LED roll-out. To quote pages 41 and 42:

"These pressures are being mitigated by an ongoing efficiency and savings programme including reduced street energy consumption from the LED replacement programme and focus on maximising income opportunities. A total of £4m of savings are planned for 2016/17.

In addition to the routine maintenance activity, there are a number of projects currently ongoing that are improving infrastructure for residents and businesses and delivering better value for money over the long term; primary examples are the Jaywick road investment scheme which will deliver significant improvements to the road network in that area and the LED lighting programme which will see a major part of the lighting network converted to state of the art LED technology over the next two years."


Essex County Council's future commitment to LED sreet lighting in their budget was also reported in the Echo newspaper.

A comment by Councillor Stephen Robinson on the Keep Chelmsford's Street Lights On Facebook Page sheds some extra light on what the proposed changes may mean for Essex - he understands that the proposed £9.25 million investment by Essex County Council is to convert the street lights that stay on all night over to LED, as per the LED roll-out currently underway in neighbouring Hertfordshire. Notably, Hertfordshire's casual replacements in part-night lit areas are also LED.

Councillors approved Essex County Council's budget at the meeting, paving the way for the LED rollout to begin. If Councillor Stephen Robinson is correct (in his understanding that the roll-out is proposed only for street lighting left on all night), this will result in between 17% and 30% of Essex County Council's lighting stock being converted to LED by 2018. The lion's share of the rest of Essex County Council's lighting - the part-night lanterns - will stay as SOX, with SON for casual replacements, new roads, road upgrades and new and recently-built housing estates.

Since the Essex County Council LED street light trial in 2014, there has been no evidence that casual replacements of part-night lanterns will be LED, as in neighbouring Hertfordshire. SON is still the light source of choice for casual replacements in Essex, although that may now change (having said that, if a SON casual replacement is only lit for half the night, it should arguably last twice as long before it needs re-lamping).

For reference, Essex's £1 million LED trial in 2014 bought them circa. 1,700 Schréder Ampera Maxis and Midis and paid for their installation. I am unsure of the proportion of the 127,000 units that are left on all night, but the figure could be as high as 30% or as low as 17%. Based on the 2014 prices, an approved budget of £9.25 million should pay for the purchase and installation of circa. 15,725 Schréder Amperas, which would be a significant chunk of Essex County Council's all-night lanterns, and economies of scale and ongoing price reductions of LED lanterns could stretch that to cover every lantern that stays on from dusk to dawn.

So there you have it. Even Essex County Council is jumping on the LED bandwagon. In a few years from now, Essex will soon be between 17% and 30% LED, and consequently up to 17% - 30% less vintage Atlas, ELECO, GEC, Philips, Phosco, REVO, Siemens and Thorn. Having said that, even after this new LED roll-out finishes in 2018, the lion's share of Essex County Council's street lighting is still likely to be SOX.

Both of Essex's Unitary Authority Councils - Southend and Thurrock - have previously approved plans to replace all of their street lighting with LED, and both schemes are currently ongoing.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:53 pm 
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First of all, good on the councillor who took matters into his own hands. Shame on the bungling councils unable to identify whose responsibility a long standing asset was that has clearly been maintained up until the previous lamp change. No doubt a bit of lost data and "computer spreadsheet says..." rubbish overruling engineering judgement and common sense.

As for Essex moving towards LED, it was only a matter of time. Surely they will now change the requirements for developers of new housing estates to install LED.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:00 am 
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In the London and the South East thread, Rojojnr wrote:
The MAs on the Essex junctions (24-26) still remain for now, but whether they will soon be replaced as well is unknown. It's just been reported by Essex County Council that they will be going all LED from 2017 onwards, so it's very likely!

Further to my post about a month ago, the local newspapers are now reporting that the £9.2 million spend on LED street lighting by Essex County Council between 2016 and 2018 will pay for the purchase and installation of 19,000 LED street lanterns. These lanterns are in locations that meet Essex County Council's part-night lighting exception criteria, i.e. they stay on all night. Lanterns that switch off for between four and five hours a night are unaffected.

Adding the 19,000 LED street lights to be installed between 2016 and 2018 to the 1,700 that were installed in 2015's LED trial will bring the number of LED street lights under the Council's control to 20,700 by 2018, which represents 16.3% of Essex County Council's 127,000 street lights. That is at the lower end of my estimates, so I wonder if the 127,000 total also includes sign lights and illuminated bollards (although sign lights and illuminated bollards have reduced significantly since "austerity" came along).

The surprising conclusion is that if just 16.3% of the authority's street lights are to be LED by 2018, that means the rest will stay as SOX and SON for the time being (the County Council has never embraced white light in any form until now, except for localised beautification schemes, e.g. Clacton Town Centre), so there will be still be plenty of vintage Atlas, ELECO, GEC, Philips, Phosco REVO, Siemens and Thorn SOX and SON lanterns in Essex in three years time!

sotonsteve wrote:
As for Essex moving towards LED, it was only a matter of time. Surely they will now change the requirements for developers of new housing estates to install LED.

I imagine a policy revision away from SON may be on the cards soon, and we may also begin to see LED casual replacements instead of the current policy of SON casual replacements. Such a policy revision will see the proportion of LED street lighting slowly increase over time without the need for heavy upfront capital investment.

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Having said that, the policy of using SON casual replacements in a county dominated by SOX works well as the colour temperatures (SOX at 1,800K and SON at 2,200K) are a close match.

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Although SON casual replacements in SOX-lit streets are now becoming a common sight in Essex since a policy switch away from SOX a few years ago, such casual replacements probably go unnoticed by the general public due to the colour temperatures being so close. LED casual replacements with a far higher colour temperature would arguably look clumsy and disjointed in the SOX-dominated streets of Essex. The above two photographs were taken in Frinton-on-Sea earlier this month (March 2016).

The East Anglian Daily Times article linked above contains an image of this rather interesting street lantern:

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Although there is absolutely no prospect of Colchester's remaining Thorn Alpha Sixes being converted to LED, I imagine they would look just like this if they were!


Last edited by David on Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:24 pm 
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Frinton-on-Sea has always sat a little uneasily among its near-neighbours of Jaywick, Clacton-on-Sea, Holland-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze. With its wide tree-lined avenues and large detached houses, it was purposely-built to attract the upper-middle classes - to Essex no less - and many covenants were created to protect the town's way of life accordingly. The absence of fast food joints, cafes and kiosks along the seafront keeps the town litter-free. Buses were banned from passing over the level crossing gates until the 1980s, fish and chips didn't arrive in the town until 1992 (after a bitter planning battle), and the town didn't get its first pub until 2000 (after another bitter planning battle).

Even today the town still has a 1950s feel to it, and that trend has been reflected in its street lighting. When Essex County Council moved away from MBF/U in the 1970s and SOX casual replacements started appearing in mercury-lit streets for the first time, the most upmarket area of Frinton - the area inside the sorely-missed level crossing gates - escaped such an indignity, and the Council were still installing new MBF/U Phosco P111s in the town (to match the town's existing street lighting) up until Phosco removed the MBF/U option from the P111 a few years ago.

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A mile of mercury. Here is The Esplanade, the road that runs along Frinton sea front, photographed in December 1997. Despite Essex County Council moving away from MBF/U in the 1970s, there are no non-MBF/U casual replacements to be seen here.

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The same scene photographed eighteen years later in September 2015. The advancing years of the original Concrete Utilities "Edinburgh" columns has coincided with the removal of the MBF/U option from the Phosco P111, with inevitable consequences.

Although metal halide, fluorescent or LED could have ensured white light continuity for Frinton, Essex County Council has, to my knowledge, never embraced white light except for local beautification schemes and the limited trial of LED in 2015. Having said that, the Council has just announced that it is rolling out LED lighting only to locations where the street lighting remains on all night.

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April 2007 - Frinton sea front was originally lit with mercury Phosco P109s on CU Edinburgh columns. Mercury P109 casual replacements were originally used for knockdowns, but in recent years the Phosco P111 has been the lantern of choice.

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September 2015 - The Esplanade between Frinton Golf Club (at the southern end of the town) and Connaught Avenue (the main shopping street) showing new SON P111s interspersed with older MBF/U P111s.

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March 2016 - two views of The Esplanade between the Crescent Gardens and Connaught Avenue. Frinton would never entertain the idea of multicoloured seafront illuminations, but the current mix of MBF/U and SON lighting is a good try!

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March 2016 - The Esplanade between the Crescent Gardens and the other end of the town. Once the far corner is turned, you are in Walton-on-the-Naze.

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September 2015 - the original part of Frinton (inside the level crossing) was lit with mercury Phosco P111s on CU "Byway X" columns. These P111s were replaced on a like-for-like basis until Phosco stopped selling the MBF/U P111, upon which SON P111s casual replacements started to appear.

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Once in a while, even a rogue SOX casual replacement would appear in mercury-lit Frinton, like in Hadleigh Road above. The above photograph and all the photographs below were taken two weeks ago (March 2016).

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The change from MBF/U to SON has gathered momentum in the last year or so, and the gentle night-time appearance of the last mercury-lit town that I know of in Essex is changing significantly. This stretch of Hadleigh Road on the left escapes for now, but the top end of The Crescent on the right has been changed over to SON.

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Evidence in The Crescent that column replacements are ongoing.

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Looking back along The Crescent to where the previous-but-one photograph was taken. One thing for sure is that, even though the quality of the light has reduced, the quantity of light from the new SON P111s is far greater than the previous MBF/U P111s.

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This corner in The Crescent has escaped the new lighting for now and is still bathed in gentle mercury light.

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Many other roads, for example Old Parsonage Way above, have fared less well. A further erosion of once-high standards is also evident here - Phosco P567s are being used to replace P111s.

Although Essex County Council are not obliged to use P111s except in the town's conservation area - circa. half of the upmarket area that originally had P111s - they have done so in the past to retain Frinton's unique character. However, it seems that austerity is now king and there is no money left in the budget for any specials. The Frinton Residents Association would like all of the town inside the level crossing (the "upmarket" area of Frinton) to retain the P111.

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To add further upset, it appears that the erosion of Frinton's unique character has been underway for some time judging by the inconsistent mounting heights in Pole Barn Lane.

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Thankfully there are still some unspoilt pockets of mercury left in Frinton to enjoy for a little while longer, e.g. Hadleigh Road as viewed in the opposite direction of the tenth image in this post. There are no inconsistent mounting heights here!

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Another part of Hadleigh Road that is still enjoying the gentle glow of mercury lighting for the time being. Sadly such installations are on borrowed time.

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And this fantastic new faux-Art deco building on The Esplanade - which pays homage to Frinton's 1930s Art deco houses - will look a little less fantastic when it is illuminated by a SON casual replacement on the street outside!

So in conclusion, the last mercury-lit town that I know of in Essex is losing this unique feature to the onward march of high pressure sodium. Frinton did so well to carry on getting new MBF/U lanterns installed for so long considering the decision to stop installing new MBF/U lanterns elsewhere in Essex was taken over 40 years ago.

Although it seemed like Frinton-on-Sea enjoyed special status to allow new mercury lanterns to be installed until just a few years ago, the squeeze of austerity on the Council's lighting budget, the impending mercury ban and the withdrawal of the Phosco P111 MBF/U option has ended an amazingly long run of daytime and night-time lighting consistency in a rather unique town.


Last edited by David on Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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