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LED street lights and Light pollution.

James Thorpe made this Freedom of Information request to Milton Keynes Council

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Dear Milton Keynes Council,

In your statements concerning the change from traditional lighting to LED, you have responded to a previous question about the impacts on light pollution by saying LED street lighting creates LESS light pollution than traditional sodium lighting.

Can you please release your evidence to support this claim and statement, because it is blatantly untrue.

LED lighting is broadband, and it is so bright, despite it being directed towards the ground, reflects the light straight up into the sky creating a far worse light pollution problem than traditional sodium lighting.

LED lighting, being a broad spectrum light source, is impossible to filter out for astronomers or the general public that wish to be able to see the stars above their heads. At least with Sodium lighting neodymium filters could be used to reduce the problem.

Obviously you have done light pollution studies to be able to make the statement you have, I would like you to please release the studies you have done for the public to review.

Yours faithfully,

James Thorpe.

Freedom of Information Act, Milton Keynes Council

Dear James

ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION REGULATIONS 2004 - INFORMATION REQUEST - INTERNAL REFERENCE 306739

I acknowledge your request for information. Please note that due to the environmental nature of the information requested your request will be processed under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Your request is being considered and you will receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days, as defined by the Environmental Information Regulations, subject to the information not being subject to any exceptions.

In the event that an exception applies information may not be released. You will be informed if this is the case, including your rights of appeal.

Best Regards
Freedom of Information Team

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Freedom of Information Act, Milton Keynes Council

Dear James

ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION REGULATIONS 2004 - INFORMATION REQUEST - INTERNAL REFERENCE 306739

Can you please advise where the statement "LED street lighting creates LESS light pollution than traditional sodium lighting" was made by MKC, or ideally provide a link to where MKC has made this statement?

Thank you.

Best Regards
Freedom of Information Team

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Dear Freedom of Information Act,

You replied to a question on FAQ on this link.

https://www.mkhighways.co.uk/faqs/

To the question, "Do LED street lights cause light pollution?"

You responded with the statement.

"LED street lights concentrate light directly down, and as a result there is less peripheral light pollution. The existing conventional sodium lights produce the 'orange glow' above a town or city resulting in a significant amount of light being wasted. Therefore LED contributes significantly in reducing light pollution".

This is misinformation, Sodium lights also direct light straight down, the resulting orange glow was from light reflecting back up off the ground. LED lights, being 1/30 the surface brightness of the sun, have much more light reflected back up off the ground and create much greater light pollution.

Claiming LED lighting contributes significantly in reducing light pollution is simply a complete lie.

As per the freedom of information request, can you please release the studies you have made to allow you to make this statement.

Yours sincerely,

James Thorpe

Freedom of Information Act, Milton Keynes Council

1 Attachment

Dear James

ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION REGULATIONS 2004 - INFORMATION REQUEST - INTERNAL REFERENCE 306739

Your request for information has now been considered and the information requested is enclosed and below:

Typically the LOR (Light Output Ratio) of 68.4% in other words 31.6% of the light generated by the lamp is lost due to internal reflections and other causes within Globe Lighting. Thus on a lanterns fitted with a light source that generates 10,000 lumens only 6,840 of those lumens are available for the lantern to use. This is typical of globe type lanterns.
Further the DLOR (Downward Light Output Ratio) is only around 46.2% thus of the 6,840 lumens available to the lantern only 3,160 lumens are directed in any direction below the horizontal. This results in 53.8% of the light emitted by the lantern being released to contribute to sky glow and light pollution.

The Holophane CityMax lantern is a product designed to light urban spaces and areas with a high degree of efficiency and control.
The lantern uses the latest LED technology to provide a powerful yet flexible solution. The LOR (Light Output Ratio) of the CityMax Range is typically in excess of 98% meaning that nearly all of the light produced by the LED’s is available for the lantern to use This means that for example with the a light source generating 10,000 lumens the lantern has 9,800 of those lumens available to it. The DLOR (Downward Light Output Ratio) of the CityMax range is typically around 96% meaning that of those 9,800 lumens some 9,408 are directed downwards leaving only 392 lumens in any direction above the horizontal. However the construction of the lantern prevents those 392 lumens from actually going 0.5o above the horizontal. This careful optical design results in the lantern having no negative affect on Sky Glow and Light Pollution.

Reflection of Light from Road surfaces is different throughout the UK. Old worn road surfaces do not reflect light as well as newly laid Asphalt, Roads built using lighter chippings reflect light differently, A road being wet/ dry /frozen etc all reflect light differently. But the case in point is that LED Lighting is far more efficient at lighting our roads. The amount of light being lost (SKY GLOW) due to Internal reflection within the bowls of the old Low / High pressure Sodium lighting is as above (31.6%) is lost to the sky. Where only 4% is lost using LED Technology. To look at the claim of the sky glow is due to reflected light from the road surface I submit this report from the US Energy commission.

If you have a complaint about the handling of your request then please contact me within the next 40 working days and I’ll arrange for an internal review which will be considered as part of Stage 2 of the Council’s complaints procedure.

You also have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113
www.ico.org.uk

Best Regards
Laura Ward
Freedom of Information Team

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Dear Freedom of Information Act,

I'm sorry, but this does not satisfy the request for the details of studies you have conducted and is again nothing more than an attempt to deceive.

The figures given for traditional sodium lighting are for Globe lighting, as such they are irrelevant since it is not globe lighting you are replacing on the streets.

Why have you passed on references from the US energy commission. Of what relevance is that?

It appears from your response that no studies at all have been carried out by the council regarding the levels of light pollution caused by these LED lights. Since all you can do is reply with a googled response.

This is certainly not a satisfactory response to a freedom of information request.

Yours sincerely,

James Thorpe

Freedom of Information Act, Milton Keynes Council

Dear James

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – INTERNAL REVIEW REQUEST

I acknowledge your request for an internal review in relation to the response you received to your Environmental Information Regulations request. I understand the main points of your complaint is that you believe our response has not provided the information you've requested.

You will receive a response in no later than 20 working days however we will of course respond as soon as possible.

Best Regards
Freedom of Information Team

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Munday, Rachel, Milton Keynes Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Thorpe,

 

I am writing to you in response to your request for an internal review;
 this is in relation to your FOI request regarding LED street lights and
light pollution and your view that we had not sufficiently answered your
questions. Upon review I believe that we have answered your questions
however that further clarification might be required and I have provided
this below:

 

Q.

In your statements concerning the change from traditional lighting to LED,
you have responded to a previous question about the impacts on light
pollution by saying LED street lighting creates LESS light pollution than
traditional sodium lighting.

Can you please release your evidence to support this claim and statement,
because it is blatantly untrue.

A.

[Please see attached report from Holophane, who manufacture our street
lights]

LED street lighting across MK does create less light pollution than the
old sodium orange lights because firstly, we can dim the LED light to
reduce the output and secondly, the LED is targeted light so is only
shining downwards onto the road or street unlike the old ‘fishbowl’
globes  that contribute to sky glow and light pollution by 53.8%.

 

Q.

LED lighting is broadband, and it is so bright, despite it being directed
towards the ground, reflects the light straight up into the sky creating a
far worse light pollution problem than traditional sodium lighting.

A.

The above appears to be more statement than question however in answer the
LED street lights that we control in MK are dimmed to further save on
energy and also to provide the right levels of light targeted where we
need it i.e. on the footways and roads. Different surfaces provide
different reflection for the light. Our street lighting engineers look at
the lighting levels across the network to ensure that they meet the
required standards for safety of all road users. The traditional sodium
orange globe lights provide all round light unlike the LEDs which are only
targeted towards the ground. This means that the orange glow not only
reflects off the road and pavement surfaces too but also shines up into
the sky. In fact this accounts for 53.8% of the light from an older
‘fishbowl’ style lantern.

 

Q.

LED lighting, being a broad spectrum light source, is impossible to filter
out for astronomers or the general public that wish to be able to see the
stars above their heads. At least with Sodium lighting neodymium filters
could be used to reduce the problem.

A.

Our priority for street lighting is to provide a sufficient level of light
to make the roads, redways and footpaths safe for all users during the
hours of darkness. LED lights are the best way to do this.

 

Q.

Obviously you have done light pollution studies to be able to make the
statement you have, I would like you to please release the studies you
have done for the public to review.

A.

See answer to first question.

I trust this resolves your issue.

You also have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

 Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113, Fax: 01625 524510, [1]www.ico.org.uk

Regards,

Rachel Munday

Highways Communications Manager

 

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are James Thorpe please sign in and let everyone know.