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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:09 am 
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Back in March 2015, David wrote:
Essex County Council's LED street lighting trial arrived in Colchester today, with all the SON-running Philips SGS203s and a couple of Philips SGS252 casual replacements in the town's North Station Road being replaced with new LED lanterns.

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The North Bridge on North Station Road, as photographed in December 2014.

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The same location photographed earlier this evening (4th March 2015).

This year's LED trial is unlikely to change Essex County Council's controversial part-night lighting policy.

It is amazing to see where some of my pictures turn up. Here is the front cover of Essex County Council's current Street Lighting Operational Plan, dated August 2015:

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The document can be downloaded from this page on Essex County Council's web site.

The decision to include my photograph on the front cover is rather ironic considering the stick I've given Essex County Council on here and on Facebook over the last few years about their controversial part-night lighting policy. Did I mention for instance that Essex County Council were voted the worst authority in the country for street lighting in the 2014 National Highways and Transport Network satisfaction survey?

Having said that, Essex is still a SOX stronghold and there are no immediate plans to kill it off, which is something us enthusiasts have to be grateful for these days. And it must be said that the new front cover is a vast improvement on the front cover of their previous Street Lighting Operational Plan  :lol:

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Last edited by David on Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:37 am 
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What a cheek! :roll:

I hope they acknowledged the ownership of the photo..


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:49 am 
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Phosco152 wrote:
What a cheek! :roll:

I hope they acknowledged the ownership of the photo..
It would have been nice to get a photo credit, but sadly not. Having said that, Essex County Council's Street Lighting Operational Plan is available to download from their website for free and it will never be a bestseller on Amazon, so they're not commercially gaining from using my photograph.

It's still an honour to see one of my photographs used this way. I've had an interest in street lighting for nearly 40 years now, and that book I first saw when I was on work experience in the Civil Engineering department of Tendring District Council back in 1989 now has my photograph on the front of it!

Puzzlingly, I downloaded that document ages ago but never got around to reading it, hence I missed the front cover.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:32 am 
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Thanks David! Very comprehensive.

I wonder how the Thorn Civic made it onto the list?!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:20 pm 
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Alex wrote:
I wonder how the Thorn Civic made it onto the list?!
I don't recall seeing any Civics in my corner of Essex, but they may be installed elsewhere. Perhaps they have to name an example product from each of the major manufacturers in order not to exclude any of them from consideration, and the Civic is the best they could do from Thorn at the time!

There's a similar list of "specials" on pages 74 to 76 which features one decorative lantern from CU Phosco, one from Philips WRTL and one from Thorn, alongside more specialist suppliers like DW Windsor and Sugg. One surprise is that the CU Phosco special is the P545 and not the P111, which is a well-used special in both Colchester and Frinton-on-Sea. Again the P111 may only be popular in this corner of Essex.

Two weeks ago, Essex County Council confirmed that it was starting work on a two-year programme to replace 19,000 of its 127,000 street lights with LED. This affects all the street lighting that was not switched to part-night lighting in 2013 - i.e. town centres, transport interchanges, junctions etc. The Council do not appear to be looking at converting the remaining >100,000 County-controlled street lights to LED yet, which means Essex will still have plenty of vintage SOX and SON to enjoy beyond the completion of this LED roll-out in 2018.

Having said that, there are three reasons that may cause the Council to re-look at this - many people negatively impacted by the reintroduction of part-night lighting see LED as the answer to their woes, the price of SOX lamps is only going to increase, and the price of LED lanterns will continue to decrease in the forseeable future. If the long-term aim of the County is to switch to LED, the current Essex County Council Street Lighting Operational Plan may need to be rewritten to encourage new developers to favour LED over SON.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 4:13 pm 
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P.S. I should say that the two "before" and "after" pictures from March 2015 were supplied at full resolution to my local newspaper to illustrate a story the Colchester Gazette were running about the LED street lighting trial in Colchester, and this is how the photograph came to the attention of Essex County Council.

Meanwhile, a walk around Little Clacton (a village just outside Clacton in North East Essex) back in May this year puzzled me, as the lamps in practically every Parish Council controlled street light in some roads appeared to have unusually blackened ends:

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An example Thorn Beta 5 in Little Clacton, photographed in May 2016. The lamp in this lantern, and the lamps in all the other lanterns in Holland Road, appeared to have unusually blackened ends.

All photographs of Little Clacton in this post were taken in May 2016.

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But a close-up photograph of another Beta 5, this time in Tan Lane, reveals that the original SOX lamp has been replaced with a LED lamp of similar dimensions.

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A view of the underside of yet another Beta 5, this time in Harwich Road. The label on the LED lamp reveals it is a 4500K 16W "SL07" LED SOX-replacement lamp from Magnatech LED.

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If my memory serves me correctly, Little Clacton's smaller roads like Holland Road, Tan Lane and Harwich Road were originally lit with GLS-running top-entry Phosco P100s affixed to brackets mounted on telegraph poles (Simon Cornwell's Phosco P100). Although the lanterns may have changed, many of the brackets are still original.

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Compared to Essex County Council, I recall Little Clacton Parish Council took a little while longer to react to the energy crisis of the 1970s, but nonetheless the population of P100s were wiped out in the 1980s and replaced with (if my memory serves me right - and it is a test of memory!) a mix of Thorn Beta 5s, Eleco GR525s and Davis GR526s, like the one above.

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Casual replacements have continued over the years, seeing the appearance in greater numbers of the Philips MI26...

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...and in lesser numbers the GEC Z9580.

All 35W SOX lanterns in the control of Little Clacton Parish Council, like the examples above, have now been converted to LED.

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Here is the new 16W LED lighting in Holland Road in action. The road has returned to white light for the first time since the Phosco P100s were wiped out circa. 30-35 years ago.

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A close-up of two of the LED-converted Thorn Beta 5s at dusk.

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As with Weeley just up the road, Little Clacton has some housing estates where the lighting is under control of Essex County Council, and lit to their standards accordingly.

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As far as I know, Essex County Council currently has no plans to change the vast majority of its street lighting (the lighting that is subject to its part-night lighting regime) to LED. Therefore some streets in Little Clacton will remain SOX for the forseeable future, and still switch off between 1am and 5am.

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The B1441 through Little Clacton is also lit by Essex County Council.

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This is a "work in progress" photograph taken in St. Osyth Road in May 2016 before the LED conversions were completed. It shows that, despite the much lower wattage of the LED bulbs, the new bulbs are more than a match for the SOX bulbs they replaced.

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Having identified the bulb now being used in Little Clacton, and seeing what a good job it was doing, I went and bought one. These photographs were taken in September 2016.

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The 16W SL07 LED SOX-replacement bulb.

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And here is how it looks close-up in a Thorn Beta 5 (Ebay purchase).

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The only "improvement" I would make to this design, excellent though it is, would be to make a clear plastic hoop of the same diameter as the SOX bulb which would slide along the bulb to the wire loop that holds the lamp in place, take up the slack in the wire loop and level the bulb in the fitting.

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How the lamp looks in operation, once the control gear has been bypassed of course!

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A view from the underside.

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How the illuminated LED lamp looks inside a Thorn Beta 5.

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One last "work in progress" view of St Osyth Road from May 2016 showing the new LED installation and old SOX installation side by side.

It is great to see how a small Parish Council can be "light" years ahead of the big boys at Essex County Council!

In common with the nearby villages and seaside resorts in north east Essex, there are still a number of legacy MBF fittings in Little Clacton. So before they disappear for good, here are some that are still going. All these photographs were taken in May 2016.

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A day-burning GEC Z5671 on a Concrete Utilities "Utility Major" column in Harwich Road. This is likely to have been installed by the old Clacton Urban District Council. If I recall correctly, control of District Council street lighting was handed over to Essex County Council in 1974.

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This one-off Phosco P107 casual replacement was for a knocked-down GEC Z5671 on a Concrete Utilities "Utility Major" column in Harwich Road.

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An off-balance Davis PT1179 casual replacement, also in Harwich Road.

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This Phosco P107 has stood on the traffic island at the junction of Harwich Road and Tan Lane for all of my living memory, but as of May 2016 it looked like this.

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A close-up of the stricken lantern. As of August 2016, the column has been retained and a Phosco P567A installed as a replacement.

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A privately-owned Eleco HW828 near the junction of St. Osyth Road and London Road. The cone is broken, and the owner has covered the hole with plastic sheeting secured with electrical tape.

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The damaged lantern is still in light, and produces the familiar mercury glow.


Last edited by David on Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 5:21 pm 
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Excellent pics as ever.

Whilst it is a shame to see SOX replaced with LED, the conversions you spotted are ones I much prefer compared to fitting new LED lanterns.

Having said that, I wonder if the column and lantern internals get a full rewire, rather than just a snip and bypass?

Given the wiring is in many cases 40 years old and PVC becomes brittle with age. I would hope a rewire is part of the conversion.

Perhaps this is why LED conversion by complete replacement is more often the norm - quicker and the lantern cable can be pre-fitted, meaning the installation is "all new". Fine I suppose if you have a government grant to reduce carbon emissions, but if you are a Parish Council, that's not going to be the case.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:39 pm 
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Oh how pleasing! If LED is an unstoppable force, I would rather see such retrofits then brand new generic lanterns installed. That way, the old street(light)scape is retained.

Had the PFI round my way have occurred a decade later, you'd have hoped they'd have opted for this option. That said, a core part of our PFI wasn't so much about SOX replacement but about bringing new servicing and columns to the latest standards.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:40 pm 
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Integrated lanterns are better for controlling the light beams, though. It wasn't too big a deal to splatter SOX everywhere, as it is only a single wavelength and it's fairly soft to look at. Those LED retrofits on the other hand must be horribly glary to look at for any length of time.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:41 am 
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In February 2015, sotonsteve wrote:
However, if other councils are anything to go by, I suspect Essex will announce LED with CMS and part night dimming at some point in the year.
In March 2016, David wrote:
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 2,000K (corrected from 2200K)) 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).

In the last four years or so (the mid-2010s), the casual replacement lantern of choice in Essex's side roads has been the SON Phosco P567 (latterly the SON Phosco P567A), whilst developers of new housing estates have ignored the SOX-lit street of the surrounding neighbourhoods and gone straight to SON (as instructed by Essex County Council).

Between the mid-2000s and the early 2010s, an assortment of different SON lanterns, e.g. Thorn Rigas, Thorn Gamma 6's, Philips SGS101 "Streetfighters" and Philips SGS203s were routinely installed as casual replacements on side roads alongside Phosco P567s, which were themselves being installed alongside Philips XGS103s, Philips XGS104s, Thorn Beta 5s and (far less frequently) the Thorn Beta 2. In that time, new housing developers also made the switch from SOX to SON.

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November 2016: SON Phosco P567A casual replacements in the foreground with surviving SOX lanterns in the background of Lincoln Way, Colchester.

With 14% of Essex County Council-controlled street lighting being converted from SOX and SON to LED between 2016 and 2018 (in addition to the 1.3% of the Essex County Council-controlled street lighting converted to LED as part of their 2015 LED trial), the suggestion is made that the County is beginning to move, albeit rather slowly, towards an LED-lit future.

This raises the question about what to do with casual replacements in the late-2010s and beyond. Should the Council continue its current policy of installing SON whenever a column or lantern reaches the end of its life or is knocked down - this works well in both SOX and SON-lit streets due to the similar colour temperatures - or should the Council bite the bullet and install only LED casual replacements from now on, which makes more sense in the long run, but may make its streets look a little sloppy in appearance in the immediate future?

Last month, I spotted an LED casual replacement in Clacton-on-Sea, a town which I understand is not scheduled to receive any LED street lighting until the 2017 / 2018 financial year (based on a two-year roll-out which began in the south of the county).

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A diminutive LED street lantern appears as a casual replacement along the B1027 St. John's Road in Great Clacton. This photograph and the following two photographs were taken in November 2016.

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On closer inspection, it appears the LED lantern is an INDO "Air 1" or "Air 1+".

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According to the INDO website, the Air 1 and Air 1+ (a dimmable version of the Air 1) are the first "direct drive" LED street lanterns on the market. The absence of an LED driver should mean the service life of the lanterns should be even greater than standard LED lanterns. This increased longevity will be welcome in a town like Clacton-on-Sea, which has scores of mercury GEC Z5641s from the 1950s still in nightly service!

Fast forward to this month (December 2016) and INDO Air 1 / Air 1+ casual replacements have begun to appear, albeit in very small quantities, in towns like Witham, Colchester and Frinton-on-Sea. All the photographs below were taken in December 2016.

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Two INDO Air 1 / Air 1+ street lanterns spotted in Leicester Close, Colchester. The rest of Colchester's Riverside Estate (where Leicester Close is situated) is lit with Eleco, GEC, Philips, Phosco and Thorn SOX lanterns dating back to the 1960s with Philips, Phosco and Thorn SON casual replacements appearing in the last 10 years.

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The INDO LED street lantern by (drizzly) night.

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An INDO Air 1 / Air 1+ has also appeared in Huntingdon Way, Clacton-on-Sea - a street which until December 2016 only had SOX street lanterns. This is the new street scene by night (albeit in fog).

Looking at the amount of light cast by the INDO LED street lanterns installed in both Leicester Close in Colchester and Huntingdon Way in Clacton-on-Sea, I am hoping that Essex County Council have opted for the dimmable Air 1+ instead of the standard Air 1 and will exercise the opportunity to review their light output and dim them down if deemed necessary - the reason being is that the light does seem overpowering compared to the gentler light provided by the adjacent 35W SOX lanterns. The current light output of the INDO lanterns that I have seen lit at night (as photographed above) looks perfectly matched to more heavily-trafficked roads like the B1027, or even spine roads that run through the middle of housing estates (the type of roads that may form part of a bus route and which were traditionally lit with 55W SOX or 70W SON at 6 metres), but for quiet roads and cul-de-sacs, they look a little too much.

Anecdotally, my Dad informs me that the chap who lives adjacent to the new INDO LED lantern in Huntingdon Way claims that, unlike the rest of the estate which is subject to Essex County Council's part-night lighting policy, the new LED lantern stays on all night. Furthermore, a homeowner in Leicester Close stopped me while I was photographing the two new LED lanterns in her road, and she also informed me that the new lantern outside her house stays on all night.

The homeowner disliked having the new LED lantern shining into her upstairs windows, and also disliked the fact that it stays on all night unlike the rest of the Riverside Estate's street lights. A seemingly obligatory increase of mounting height from the historic standard of 15 feet to the current 6 metres probably doesn't help her case, along with half a night of a gentle orange glow being replaced with pure white light which ceases to extinguish. Whether this all-night lighting is an intentional reversal of Essex County Council's controversial part-night lighting policy for future casual replacements, or whether it's just a case of waiting for the Telensa Central Management System computer to catch up, remains to be seen.

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An INDO Air 1 / Air 1+ LED lantern also appeared in Sherwood Drive, Clacton on Sea in December 2016, but it only emits the faintest of glows.

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A long-exposure photograph reveals that the lantern appears to be connected to the power supply, but has somehow failed immediately or very soon after installation. Perhaps these new INDO LED lanterns may not have the stamina to enjoy a 60-year service life like some of Clacton's GEC Z5641s!


Last edited by David on Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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