OVER-BRIGHT street lights which have been disturbing residents’ sleep in Swanage could soon be replaced.

Over a hundred ultra-bright LED lights have been fitted in the town, some almost two years ago.

Ward councillor Bill Trite raised the issue at the February meeting of Dorset Council when he was promised a solution by the portfolio holder at the time.

This week he was back again at the annual Dorset Council meeting to say nothing had been done and he wanted action on behalf of the residents.

“At the full council meeting on 13th February, a policy review of street lighting was promised from the Corporate Director for Highways in response to the serious night-time nuisance being caused to Swanage residents by the installation of street lights which are obviously much too harsh, intense and intrusive for the residential roads concerned, how much longer than the present three months will it be necessary to wait for this belated review?” he said.

The new portfolio holder for highways, Cllr Jon Andrews, said he had asked for the lights to be replaced “as swiftly as possible” and had asked for an independent review of the impacts of street lighting.

Said Cllr Andrews: “There are approximately 100 LED streetlights in Swanage that are affected by the concerns raised by residents.  These lights are composites made from the outer shell and lens of the old low-pressure sodium lights, retrofitted internally with LED lamps.  This was done approximately two years ago by the council’s street lighting service provider, because the old sodium lanterns had exceeded their operational life expectancy and replacement parts were no longer being manufactured.  The result is that these lanterns have the light dispersing properties of the previous sodium lanterns but with the light characteristics of an LED bulb.

“These hybrid lights were compliant with all legal requirements at the time they were installed and continue to be so.  However, following the advice on best practice that we have received from the council’s Director of Public Health, we have concluded that they should be replaced with the newer type of LED lantern that we are now using elsewhere in the county.

The newer lanterns are designed to direct light downward onto the highway, limiting light spillage outside the bounds of the highway or towards neighbouring properties and residences.  This will significantly change the overall appearance of the lighting scheme.   The newer lanterns also permit greater use of shields or shrouds to manage the throw of light from each individual lantern.

I have asked for the lanterns to be replaced as swiftly as possible.”