Cowes residents the first to get new LED streetlamps (updated)

Streets in Cowes are some of the first to receive new energy-saving, carbon efficient LED lighting.

New street lights:

As the first week of Island roads being in the hands of Island Roads draws to a close, Rebecca gives us an update on the installation of LED streetlamps. Ed

Work to replace street lights across the Island has begun, with a number of streets in Cowes being the first to be fitted with this energy-saving lighting solution.

The current street lighting across the Island is in variable condition and many columns and lights need to be replaced. As part of the highway service, Island Roads are installing new lights and columns to improve the look and feel of our roads and pavements and to improve safety where it is most needed to help reduce traffic accidents, crime and the fear of crime for all.

Herbert: “New lighting will be more reliable”
Paul Herbert, Island Roads Service Director, said, “Lighting is one of the greatest consumers of energy, Island Roads will be replacing all streetlights over the next three years converting to LED (Light Emitting Diodes) lamps.

“Due to the efficient nature of LED, this new lighting will be more reliable and once installed they will result in less lights out of service and will also support the Eco Island Vision.”

Centrally controlled
As the new streetlights are installed they automatically connect to our central management system. They will be illuminated for the first 24 hours, until this system has been configured and will then return to normal operating mode.

Longer term benefits of this system mean that the lighting will be able to be controlled – dimming and enhancing our streets and public spaces in accordance with the IWC requirements.

Heritage lights
Heritage lights may also be replaced with new heritage style columns and lanterns of sympathetic appearance so residents will not see a change to the look of the street light itself.

However, the replacement lanterns will also contain a modern LED light source to continue to support this carbon efficient program of improvements.

Image of new lights in place added above and image below showing the street before the new LED lights were fitted.

Street lamps:

Friday, 5th April, 2013 6:41pm



Filed under: Cowes, Isle of Wight News, Roads, Top story

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. I actually saw one of the PFI nice new vans parked up near Emmett Hill Chale Green. The driver was making notes sat at the wheel, so perhaps something is moving even if it doesn’t involve asphalt!

  2. Black Dog

    5.Apr.2013 9:13pm

    Seems Ironic to have Cowes as the first town on the Island to have LED streetlights that cut the carbon footprint of the town. Is this to off-set the carbon and carcinogenic particles from their proposed Asphalt plant?

    • Rhos yr Alarch

      5.Apr.2013 9:47pm

      Well, it may be! But more likely that it’s because some of the spacings between columns are some of the most distant on the IW, harking back to the 50’s or earlier. Take Granville Road or Castle Road, for example. And remember Granville Rd was a bus route for many years! Even the roads that received increased numbers of columns in the 70’s and 80’s had very flimsy aluminium columns of a style used in few other places on the Island. It makes sense really, I think.

  3. A pity that “heritage” lights will be replaced by “heritage-style” lights. There is generally less charm in copies.

  4. I have just walked back from the pub. Mill Hill have them but they seemed to be cable tied to the existing lamp standards. I will take another look when sober tomorrow. Plenty of light though.

    • Rhos yr Alarch

      6.Apr.2013 9:33am

      Well the existing “heritage” lighting I’m afraid is not original, that was all ripped out long ago! They are already copies. The only vestige is an unused column by the gateway to Northwood House at the end of Castle Road. Interesting to hear Mill Hill is the area to be chosen – the columns here have been steel rather than aluminium and never properly maintained, so got rusty.

      • Who knows, I might like the replacements, but if there are some specially attractive existing ones, keep an eye out for it.

        What gets me is the term “heritage” and “heritage-style”. It sounds like creating a Disney-fied view of the past. The existing lamps could be referred to by the decade they were installed, which would be illuminating ;-) as to their origin, if sounding less cool to PR people.

        • Rhos yr Alarch

          6.Apr.2013 5:55pm

          Very true – “heritage” = imitatiom, in this case steel columns with clip-on decorations. If you look at any of the sea-front lighting on the IW (Ventnor excepted) you will see the ornate brackets clipped on with aluminium clips because the original bonding has corroded after a mere ten years. Very different from the Isle of Bute, where genuine relica cast-iron columns have been used on Rothesay Sea Front – almost identical to the ones that used to be on Culver Parade as it happens! (the pavilion very similar to the one at Ryde is also in better nick too)

  5. Btw, what are the grey and white rectangles in this topic’s Island Roads picture? Presumably coming from IR, a straight picture of our beautiful scenery is evidently not sufficient.

    Also, do the new lights get down-lighted, (down-lit?) in order to keep the skies dark?

    • Sally Perry

      8.Apr.2013 8:12am

      Island Roads weren’t able to supply any images of the streetlamps, so we used one from their website of the roadshow van. We are expecting images to be sent through this week which will be added to the article.

  6. Rhos yr Alarch

    6.Apr.2013 9:25pm

    After having seen Tryme’s comment, I looked again at the picture and realised it is of an Island Roads vehicle with a picture of Afton Down on the side. The two rectangles are windows in the vehicle.

    As to the degree of downlighting, I’m sure there will be, but the extent of it depends on the design of the lanterns. The experimental installation on the Sandown Bay revetment (also used at St Mary’s Hosp carpark)there is a degree of glare, but the design used on single lanterns in East Hill Road and Park Road in Ryde gives a lot less spillage of light. It will be interesting to see which design is used…

    • Of course Rhos, fancy me not realising that! Wierd-looking effect though, (of the windows). Thanks for telling me.

      I hope IR do take down-lighting seriously. Presumably we can phone them to find out what their thinking is. I’d like to think they are going to be accessible.

  7. Rhos yr Alarch

    6.Apr.2013 9:45pm

    Well, hopefully they’ll be easy to communicate with! There’s not much on their website, apart from the article on “On the Wight” which is a copy of that’s there. So no clue about which luminaires are being used. I’m planning to pop over to Cowes on Monday to have a look, so will post here with an update if no-one beats me to it…!

  8. Rhos yr Alarch

    6.Apr.2013 9:57pm

    Yes, I think so…along with the mid Wales borders and the west of Scotland.

  9. They have just fitted some of the new LED lights in York Street. A bit blue compared to the orange old ones.

  10. Tanja Rebel

    7.Apr.2013 10:12pm

    The new lights are incredibly ugly, not to mention their adverse health effects. Regarding the latter, I will let the following speak for itself:

    The power of the blues

    While light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light does so more powerfully. Harvard researchers and their colleagues conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).

    In another study of blue light, researchers at the University of Toronto compared the melatonin levels of people exposed to bright indoor light who were wearing blue-light–blocking goggles to people exposed to regular dim light without wearing goggles. The fact that the levels of the hormone were about the same in the two groups strengthens the hypothesis that blue light is a potent suppressor of melatonin. It also suggests that shift workers and night owls could perhaps protect themselves if they wore eyewear that blocks blue light. Inexpensive sunglasses with orange-tinted lenses block blue light, but they also block other colors, so they’re not suitable for use indoors at night. Glasses that block out only blue light can cost up to $80.

    Less-blue light

    If blue light does have adverse health effects, then environmental concerns, and the quest for energy-efficient lighting, could be at odds with personal health. Those curlicue compact fluorescent lightbulbs and LED lights are much more energy-efficient than the old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs we grew up with. But they also tend to produce more blue light.

    The physics of fluorescent lights can’t be changed, but coatings inside the bulbs can be so they produce a warmer, less blue light. LED lights are more efficient than fluorescent lights, but they also produce a fair amount of light in the blue spectrum. Richard Hansler, a light researcher at John Carroll University in Cleveland, notes that ordinary incandescent lights also produce some blue light, although less than most fluorescent lightbulbs.

    From: “Blue Light has a dark side”

    • Can’t see that anybody is going to stand under a blue light, green light or any other light for 6.5 hrs so this post is just pointless. They’ll be telling us next that the Earth is still warming up – I never believed that claptrap either.

      • With people drinking outdoors on warm evenings, (remember them?), and others living with these lights outside their windows, ditto night-shift (and winter afternoon) work places, I can see how some could be affected by the blue lights, & be unable to settle into a 24hr rhythm, not be able to sleep properly etc, with consequent adverse effects on health. Worth reading about this.

    • I don’t understand why ‘street furniture’, part of our everyday aethetic experience, can’t first be run past us as a matter of course, with suggested options. This new company comes in and dumps stuff on us, take it or leave it. You wouldn’t do that with someone else’s house, so why with our towns?

      • (‘aesthetic’)

      • Rhos yr Alarch

        8.Apr.2013 8:05am

        Well, in the early 70’s Ryde Borough council had an experimental scheme prior to large-scale replacement of the existing tungsten lighting. Prince street was lit with sodium lights (orange), Albert Street with mercury (blue) and Surrey Street with fluorescent (the familiar Pale violet). The fluorescent lights were the most popular with residents and used for the new lighting, with the experimental streets re-lit with the more popular choice. Fluorescents are also considered an energy-efficient light source, hence their use in Southampton, Hampshire and Surrey. I wonder if a similar experimental scheme was considered this time to assess public preference. (I think I know the answer to that – we must be moving backwards!)

        • Gosh yes, that is a bit of a shock, this example of local people being so actively & even-handedly consulted by their council! I daresay RBC still do this as far as they have the powers, but so much more seems to be centralised now, and we have learnt how likely it is for genuine consultations to emanate from County Hall.

  11. Tanja Rebel

    7.Apr.2013 11:30pm

    Dear Bayboy,

    You don’t need to stand under one particular blue light for hours to be affected, the lights will be everywhere and there is a cumulative effect. Moreover, they are cold, harsh lights – not very pleasing to the eye. Finally, the lamp posts are atrocious. This island deserves better…

  12. Rhos yr Alarch

    8.Apr.2013 7:58am

    Blue light harmful? Well, given that the side streets now receiving the work, were lit by mercury vapour in the 70’s and 80’s – also a blue light source – it will be interesting to look back and see any harmful effects compared, say with Ryde and Sandown, that used a fluorescent light source. And in the present day, we will only need to compare ourselves with Southampton, which likewise is using fluorescent luminaires in its own PFI.

  13. Rhos yr Alarch

    8.Apr.2013 8:07am

    … and in fairness to the company, in a PFI the selected company simply carries out the specification handed to it by the local authority in question. The decision to use LED was taken long before the tendering process took place.

  14. Rhos yr Alarch

    8.Apr.2013 11:14pm

    Well, the lanterns in use are called the Stela Long, made by WRTL. I think the light will be directed quite well downwards. The number of diode cells varies according to how busy the streets are – Bridge Road and Mill Hill Road have most, St Andrews Street least, and York street somewhere between.

    These directional lanterns do need the columns located quite close, otherwise there are dark patches between. Surprisingly, the columns are being installed in exactly the same positions as the old ones, so the spacings are in places quite far apart, so the effect will be patchy. Not like the PFI’s on the mainland, spacings in new schemes are close together.

    The columns are quite plain, and I can’t see why anyone could object to them. They are painted, but it’s a pity the opportunity was not taken to use a bonded coating – examples of this can be seen half way up the main road in Havenstreet outside the old chapel schoolhouse. These are much longer-lasting, and avoid the danger of the wrong primer being used, leading to peeling, as at Undercliff Drive. The Havenstreet examples are a better height as well – I would have expected Mill Hill and Bridge Road to have used slightly taller columns, to allow the light of the stronger lanterns to be spread further. One of the older columns in Mill Hill Rd that has been used is a this taller height, and sticking up above the others.

    Still the guys putting them in were quite friendly and willing to chat and answer my questions!

    • I love this about OTW, the unexpected expertise that comes to the fore as necessary! This is a terrific (and intelligible for non-experts) report-back on the new lights, Rhos yr Alarch, thank you.

      I’m reassured about the degree of down-lighting, and also that you think the columns plain rather than ugly. But it sounds as though IR have nevertheless missed a trick or two, and may consequently have to re-do or at least adjust what they have done, as a result.

      I’m sure any future observations you may make on new lighting will also meet with interest here.

  15. Sally Perry

    10.Apr.2013 5:13pm

    Thanks to Rebecca who sent through pics of the new lights today. I have added them above including a before photo at the bottom of the article.

    • Yes, thank you for the photos.
      The new lights look to be giving rather a chilly blue light compared to the old ones, but that may seem different when one’s in situ. The street looks to be more widely and evenly lit than before, likely to be a good thing, of course.

  16. Simon Nicholas

    19.May.2013 6:55pm

  17. Simon Nicholas

    19.May.2013 6:59pm

  18. If there are health risks – Tanja Rebel’s contribution – from a blue emphasis in the energy spectrum from LED lights then presumably folks using CFL and LED luminaires in their homes plus fluorescent lights in the workplace are at high risk. Most LED units for domestic use have a colour temperature rating usually 2700˚K.

    Are we all doomed?

    • Simon Nicholas

      20.May.2013 1:29pm

      Are we all doomed? I’m not sure!

      If you do research on the web then it seems that there are some health concerns about LED lighting generally – the French Govermment have banned LED lighting in schools, for instance.

      Domestic use of LEDs can be controlled by the home ownner (ie. you can switch the lights off when you go to bed), but external lighting such as street lighting continues to shine all night, whether its dimmed or not.

      Reasearch suggests that the ‘cheap’ LED luminaires currently being installed as part of PFI schemes emit light in the part of the spectrum which isb’t very good for human health.

    • Is not 2700 Kelvin in the amber part of the spectrum with the blue part of the spectrum not being reached until 7500+ Kelvin?

  19. Where does sunlight, including the UV spectrum required for Vitamin D production, fit in with all of this?
    Presumably sunlight has a near-equal distribution of colour in the visible spectrum.

    • Tanja Rebel

      20.May.2013 5:14pm

      Dear Stephen,

      I presume sunlight displays the full spectrum, but as it is sunlight we get it in the day, which is what our biological clock needs.

      Artificial lighting, and in particular the blue-white spectrum, at night time is not good for our biological rhythm. Studies have suggested that it can even have carcinogenic effects, whereas vitamin D produced with the help of sunlight has the opposite effect.


        This EU paper sets out in detail much of the concern to which you refer.
        There is another paper from another EU group synthesising most artificial problems.
        Lasat thing do not tell UKIP about these EU scientific documents!

  20. Bystander

    20.May.2013 7:07pm

    Having just replaced the four GU10 halogen bulbs in my kitchen spotlights with the LED equivalent I am finding the transition to the new light source rather off-putting.
    The light given is eerie and clinical, like one might expect in a morgue perhaps, and a glass of water standing on my draining boards glows like something out of Star Trek. I most definitely preferred the previous bulbs, but as the four of them combined used 200 watts and the LED equivalent use 12 watts for all four I will be sticking with them, however, I wouldn’t consider using them in rooms other than the kitchen as the light would be depressing.

  21. Simon Nicholas

    21.May.2013 9:11am


    This EU paper sets DOES NOT set out in detail much of the concern to which you refer.

    If you actually read the 118 pages of this report there is very little reference to LED technology as the report admits.

    In fact, the scope of the report doesn’t actually cover the specific light-source category of street lighting at all. However in Table 6 on page 72 it provides a matrix of various types of exposure, e.g.. office lighting, TV monitors, for varying exposure times. In each differing case in the “Physical Parameters Potential Health Effects” column of the table, blue light (LED) is classified as ‘possible’.

    • Simon Nicholas

      23.May.2013 11:51am

      Trafford Council ST 1549 23/05/2013 [For Immediate Release]

      Statement re lighting

      Trafford Council’s Corporate Director of Environment, Transport and
      Operations Peter Molyneux confirmed the following:

      The council has commissioned an independent Health Impact Assessment,
      which will form part of the report on the proposed street lighting
      investment. This decision was taken to address issues raised by a
      local resident on the potential health implications of the possible
      use of LED lanterns on its lighting columns

      All relevant information will be made available within the final
      report which will be considered at a future council meeting.

      The council remains committed to operating in an open and transparent
      way as well as achieving the best possible value for money for local
      residents. It is for this reason that it cannot make commercially
      sensitive information public. To do so could result in the council
      paying more on future contracts, which would impact on local council
      tax payers.

      Mr Molyneux also confirmed that the council does not recognise the £16
      million cost figure quoted.


      Karen Galvin, Trafford Council, Communications Unit, 0161 912 1136.

  22. Roger the Dodher

    15.Feb.2014 1:48am

    Ryde now has many unlit dark patches. Did anyone consult with the police before positioning them so far apart? Makes burglary and more serious crime seem a lot easier. They’re great, but more needed.

    • Rhos yr Alarch

      15.Feb.2014 12:03pm

      The problem is that this kind of lighting is designed to be very targetted in its lighting beams, and assumes the columns will be spaced reasonably close to one another. All new columns on the IW are exactly where the old ones were. The old lanterns spilled light in all directions, so wide spacings were less noticeable. Cowes UDC and Ryde Borough (amonsgt others) updated some of the spacings in the 70’s – this was continued less energetially by the old IW County Council. Since the unitary authority began in the 90’s very little has been done. Hence some streets were never updadted, and the replacements now are being done on archaic spacings. Trees etc have also grown, again signalling a redesign is needed rather than one to one replacement. Arthur Street in Ryde is a prime example – the shorter part adjoining Mount Street was upgraded in the 70s but the rest not. Result – darkness. The lanterns chosen have 18 led’s rather than the standard 24, aggravating the problem. Granville Road in Cowes has a similar wide space towards Victoria Road. Needs an urgent review!

  23. Simon Nicholas

    22.Apr.2014 1:20pm

    Encouraging to see that the health concerns are now being reported by the national press:

  24. Russell Pearson

    30.Apr.2014 10:45am

    Yes, we have these in Chiswick now – the neighbourhood are up in arms about them, esp regarding loss of sleep and the health risks.

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