Partners: Allerdale Borough Council, Lorton Parish Council, The Melbreak Communities and Friends of the Lake District.

Description and location: A pilot of five Dark Skies and wildlife friendly new road lights have been installed in the village of Lorton, in the north west part of the Lake District National Park. The existing 44 road lights around Low and High Lorton, owned by Allerdale Borough Council, are mostly old 1980s sodium lanterns with low energy efficiency levels by today’s standards and also cast as much light upwards into the night sky. (See Images)

Working together, Lorton Parish Council and the Dark Skies Cumbria Project, carried out a survey of residents in December 2020 to ask whether they supported changing the lights to more energy efficient and Dark Skies friendly ones.  A clear majority (80%) supported new LED Dark Skies friendly luminaires, but also with a part-night switch off to help protect wildlife active after dark. Whilst 50% of respondents were happy to have some of the lanterns turned off completely, a fifth still wanted lighting retained for safely walking around as there are few footways in the village.

The new Isaro Pro light fittings, produced by Thorn Lighting UK, are set at 2,200 Kelvin - a warm colour temperature lantern, with dimming by 50% from 9pm and will switch off at around 12pm and come back on at 6am. These new LED lights will cut electricity consumption by around 70%, angle the light beam downwards preventing sky glow light pollution and will significantly reduce maintenance costs given the age and condition of many of the existing lights.

Light product:

Feedback: Lorton’s pilot five new road lanterns will be installed shortly, and as local helper Steve Irlam, Lorton Parish Councillor, explains we’ll be seeking people’s feedback:

“Working with Jack Ellerby the Dark Skies Cumbria Project Officer and Allerdale Borough Council, we’ve picked the core area of the village near the school, shop and village hall to try some better new lights. As the evenings draw in this autumn ’21 we’d welcome feedback from residents before we look to replace any more of the lights we think are still needed. We will have to be pragmatic with local authority budgets being very tight some of the lights won’t be able to be replaced, including those connected to Electricity North West Ltd timber poles where their risk assessments do not now permit other equipment being attached.”

Images (Steve Irlam, Tom Stennhouse and FLD):

Before road light images in Lorton. These existing lights spill 26-50% up into the sky.

After: New Isaro Pro LED lights produced by Thorn Lighting UK