Partners: Cumbria County Council lighting team, Thorn Lighting UK (Zumtobel Group) and Friends of the Lake District.

Description: Evolving Cumbria County Council’s road lighting replacement programme in sensitive landscape locations installing a new lighting product to the UK, called NightTune. NightTune is a variable optical system developed by Thorn Lighting, with an indirect luminaire causing zero sky glow or glare and highly energy efficient LED. Incorporating two sets of LEDs, one amber the other neutral white they can be blended to deliver a comfortable white to a very warm light.

The Cumbrian pilot specification has a variable colour temperature and dimming programme at: 2,700 Kelvin/100% power (dusk), to 2,400K/75% (9-12pm approx.) and to 2,200K/50% power during the middle section of the night, before reversing this sequence to day break. The purpose of this combination balances the needs of people and the environment by • Minimising the impact on people; • Respecting spaces and protecting the dark sky; and • Safeguarding nocturnal ecosystems.

Light product:

Locations: Phase I of the five pilot locations are - Alston (Jollybeard Estate), Ambleside (Fisherbeck Park and Waterhead), Dent (Glebe Fold), Glenridding (Barraclough Fold and Browfield Close) and Warcop (Chapel Garth and The Croft) – 64 light fittings.

Feedback: 200 feedback forms were posted to local residents and 55 responses were received, a high rate return of 26%. Approx. 75% of residents were very pleased with the new lights (see example comments below), and the majority of the remaining respondents raised concerns regarding light spill into their homes or gardens. Where lanterns are close to adjacent houses internal shielding has/will be fitted to ameliorate these specific impacts on householders.

“Thanks for trialling these lights on my estate. They are way better than previous bright white lights, the shape is friendlier too. Always hated previous lights that did not attract the bats. These new ones give quite sufficient light and do not intrude at night - as last ones did.  Our estate is over lit, its a small and non through road. So I am much happier.”

“Positives - soft warm lighting, less glare to the eye, reduced light pollution in our bedroom through the night, we can see the gorgeous Milky Way more easily.”

Images (Ian Harker, Thorn Lighting UK):

Before and After – Glenridding, with zero sky glow or glare and excellent light coverage. 

Before and after Luminaires at Waterhead, Windermere lakeshore, Ambleside.

Wider points: Cumbria County Council’s lighting design guidance standards now ensures all new or replacement road and heritage light meet Dark Skies requirements. The Borough and District Councils’ within Cumbria follow this good practice leadership, including with their own lighting and through the planning process with proposed developments.

The pilot is to be expanded with a further 125 NightTune lights are programmed for installation in Carlisle borough and Eden district areas later this year.