LIGHTING: Helping the criminals

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Having recently been the victim of an attempted burglary, I may be over-sensitive, but the project to replace street lighting with white LEDs requires a re-think.

I was able to disturb the offender; he was attempting to lift the roller door into my garage. Clearly an opportunist, he was using a darkened area to try to gain entry.

Currently, there is nowhere near the horizontal illumination afforded by the orange lighting. The former arrangement illuminated my lounge and stairs, extensive areas of the paths, and reached into corners and blind spots well away from lampposts.

We now have more ambient darkness and totally darkened areas close to housing, garages and parked cars.

This is set to become a serious insurance issue as it aids crime and hinders police where a fast response requires officers to be able to see beyond the nearest light source.

White LEDs with such low diffusion naturally restrict the eye’s ability to cope with low light over distance. A television is difficult to see in front of a sunlit window because the eye adjusts to the brighter source.

These LED heads direct white light down and should be shaded to cast diffuse orange light sideways, with overlaps between adjacent posts.

This is a route to elevated crime and insurance that will risk affecting entire postcodes, frustration for police, and litigation directed at the administrative authority.

Northumberland County Council now needs to explain how this technology was trialled and assessed, and who concluded that darker roads and estates are not less safe and secure?

Stephen Hislop

New Hartley