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Posted on Saturday 17th December 2016

Challenging the Culture of Secrecy at Amey

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heritagelamppostHoles are being dug in S2, yellow screens put up and slowly tall black lamp columns are appearing. But what kind of lamp posts will you be getting outside your home? The new ‘energy efficient’ LED lamps are meant to to lean and green, but to many people they are ugly, patchy in the spread of light and being put up in the wrong places. And when residents ask them Amey can’t tell us where or when they are going to be installed.

Sometime in late 2013 or early 2014 the contract for Amey to supply street lighting to the Norfolk Road conservation area was signed off by the City Council. According to an email from the Head of Urban and Environmental Design at the council, that included 57 heritage-style conservation lamp posts. They look like this – not ideal – but in the one-size-fits-all Wonderful World of Amey, better than the dual-carriageway-friendly alternative.

norfolkroadconservationareaThe heritage style lanterns are just as energy efficient as the ordinary ones but are designed to be more in keeping with the C19th stone built housing on Norfolk Road, Talbot Street, Talbot Gardens, Talbot Place, Belmonte Gardens, Fitzwalter Road, Claywood Road, Stafford Road, Stafford Lane and to fit in with the listed Shrewsbury Hospital, Cholera Memorial, Gin Stables and the award winning Cholera Memorial Park and Clay Wood. The conservation area map is here and can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Suddenly – in November 2016 – one Norfolk Road resident found out that we were’t going to have those lanterns. If they hadn’t spotted this in a lighting plan no one would have been any the wiser. Yet earlier in the year Amey staff working in the area specifically told a number of residents that yes we were getting heritage lighting columns.

This episode brings up the issue of privatisation, and the impact of austerity cuts to our vital public services. But for me, having spent hours and days chasing this one up the issue is secrecy and why don’t we know anything? Like every aspect of all the various Amey works, whether it be trees or tarmacking historic cobbled streets communication with residents has been non-existent. Amey employ a Community Steward for our area or a sheffield-wide Engagement Officer. But you wouldn’t know it. Even elected representatives are kept in the dark (no lighting pun intended here!). When approached about why the change our local councillor Pat Midgley knew nothing. n the end it took three weeks to dig out the information and I got back a reply from Amey on 14 December:

“We are sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the service provided by Streets Ahead. We have assessed your complaint and feel a formal investigation is required in this instance. Your complaint will be investigated by Jonathan Skill, Principal Operations Manager for the Streets Ahead contract. You can expect a reply to your complaint by 9 January 2017.”

But still no confirmation from Amey that they were going to honour the contact and install the 57 heritage style lamps.

The holes are still being dug and the yellow screens go up in S2. So please – if you see work going on to a lampost near you – it shouldn’t. Manor Castle Green party believes our historic environment expects better than this. Until the contract is honoured and the Norfolk Road conservation area gets the appropriate lamp posts tell Mr Jonathan Skill how you feel about it. Get on the phone. Send an Email. Mr Skill can be contacted via streetsahead@sheffield.gov.uk or by telephone on (0114) 273 4567 using the reference: 101003015886 – Complaint Investigation regarding lanterns used on Norfolk Road S2 (1366129).

Brian Holmshaw
Manor Castle Green Party

2 Responses to Challenging the Culture of Secrecy at Amey

  1. Blue Light and its effect on Humans and Wildlife
    Prepared by D. Garlovsky – david@solar-active.com

    New white LED security lights being installed in Sheffield and across UK are detrimental to human and wildlife circadian rhythms, road safety and the view of our night sky.

    White LED’s with blue-rich spectra are being installed often without proper health or environmental impact assessments. Urgent action is needed to ensure that installation of LED lights uses a warm-white Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT) – ideally 2700K – for the benefit of Public Health, Ecology, Road Safety, and Sky Glow.

    The question to ask is why the SCC and Amey have decided, in Sheffield, to install Correlated Colour Temperature [CCT] lighting of 5000K, in contradiction with recommendations by PHE, CPRE, AMA, IDA as well as Amey’s own desk top study for Kent County Council.

    Analysis has shown by changing roadway and outdoor area lighting from high-pressure sodium to white light LEDs, we maybe upsetting the ecological balance in unexpected ways. Ref: Botanical light Pollution, 17/02/16 Red is the New Blue, Ian Ashdown, P. Eng., FIES, Chief Scientist, Lighting Analysts Inc

  2. Graham Wroe says:

    Good news on this one. Brian has received this reply from Amey. He has now asked for a plan of where all the 57 Heritage lamp-posts are going so we will share that here when we have it.

    Thank you for your complaint that we received on 12 December 2016. We take all complaints seriously and try to use them to make our services better.

    Your complaint is regarding the style of street lights on Norfolk Road. I am Jonathan Skill, Principal Operations Manager for the Streets Ahead contract and I am responsible for the street lighting upgrade works across the city. I have investigated your complaint and I am writing to inform you of my findings.

    After further investigation I can confirm that the previous information that I provided was incorrect. I can confirm that Norfolk Road will have heritage lanterns installed during 2017.

    Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused by this matter.

    I hope that my response answers your complaint fully and I have explained the reasons for my decision. At this stage you do have the right to ask for your complaint to be reviewed by a more senior manager.

    To request this please contact me via streetsahead@sheffield.gov.uk or by telephone on (0114) 273 4567, giving details of why you are not satisfied and what further action you want to be taken.

    Kind regards

    Jonathan Skill
    Principal Operations Manager
    Customer Services (Amey)
    Tel: 0114 273 4567
    Email: streetsahead@sheffield.gov.uk

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