The clocks go back this weekend (26.10.2014) and local borough and county councillor, Liberal Democrat Robin Parker, is warning residents that street lights across Hertfordshire could well be disrupted yet again for some days around the date of the clock change.
He said: “Most street lights in Hertfordshire are owned and operated by the Conservative dominated Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) and when, in 2012, they made the unwise blanket decision to turn off their street lights from midnight to 06.00 each night, they got contractors to fit a new photocell for each lamp unit. Unfortunately, the contractor supplied lots of faulty photocells and these have been fitted to random lights across Hertfordshire.”
“The photocells measure the change in daylight and the rate of change is greatest near the spring and autumn equinoxes. The faulty photocells are unable to cope with this rapid change and, in these circumstances, they should revert to a so-called ‘safe’ operation by staying on all night. There is an additional fault in the faulty photocells which means that instead most of them turn off all night from about 18.00 hours.”
“The fault is not connected with the clocks going forwards or backwards, other than the fact that the rapid daylight change happens around the same time of year.”
“Since the street light switch off in 2012 (officially called Part Night Lighting (PNL) we have suffered disruption to the operation of random lights each March (when the clocks go forward) and each October (when the clocks go back).”
“HCC officials have admitted to me today that they have still failed to get the contractor to solve this problem. The contractor obviously should pay to replace all the photocells across the county, because they have no way of finding out which ones are faulty and which ones operate satisfactorily. The disruption normally lasts for only a day or two, so it is not feasible to survey the faulty ones by observing them.”
“The policy decision to switch off the lights and the failure of the hardware has been a disaster by the Tory dominated County Council.”