New street lights dazzle homeowners

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Residents on Park Road in Chiswick are the lucky recipients of some of the first high-tech new street lights in Hounslow Council's multi-million pound refurbishment. They are more efficient and effective, and are set to save the council a fortune.

Unfortunately the residents say the lights are so bright that it's like living on a football pitch.

Too bright

The BBC reported that the lights are part of an £800 million project to improve streets in the area. They are designed to use less electricity, and because they are more directional, they are meant to cause less light pollution.

However, the local residents told the broadcaster that they had been forced to take desperate measures: sealing their blinds up with tape in order to keep the dazzling light out, and covering the windows in black cardboard.

Cllr Colin Ellar, deputy leader of Hounslow Council told the Daily Mail: "It is true that a small number of residents have told us that our new street lights are too bright and that their sleep has been disturbed, which is something I can fully sympathise with." However, he added that many residents were pleased with the change, that the council was about to embark on a test of dimming the new lights.

Making light of problems

These street lights are being installed across the country - and have not been without their teething problems

In Dundee some residents complained that lights were too bright, as they shone through widows, so they were turned down: now some residents complain that they are too dim for drivers to be able to see properly.

And we reported last month on the £2,000 lamp post installed by Birmingham City Council, which was buried so deep inside the foliage of a tree, that it illuminated nothing apart from the inside of the tree.

But maybe this shouldn't come as a shock. Councils have been struggling with lights for years. In June last year it emerged that for months 260 lights in Hertfordshire had been on all day, and only turned off when it got dark. The lights were on by mistake during the day, and then turned off with the rest of the lights in the area at midnight in order to save energy. Contractors went out to check the lights after residents complained, but each time they checked them in the evening, and because the lights were on, they thought there was nothing wrong with them.

In 2011 Essex Council Council agreed to install a disabled parking bay outside the house where a young disabled boy lived. It marked the bay on the pavement outside - but left a lamp post directly in the middle of the space. After the family complained, they moved the space - directly in front of steps into the house, so the boy couldn't get into his home.

And in the US things were even tougher on a woman from Connecticut, who was accidentally billed for the electricity used to power two streetlights in her area for 25 years. She was eventually reimbursed $10,500 in 2012.