We shine a light on Skipton resident Ben’s love of street lamps

A young man with a fascination for street lamps enjoyed a day behind the scenes with pit street lights team.

Ben Hall, from Skipton, has been reporting any street lighting faults he sees in his home town for the past two years, using our online reporting system, which was introduced in 2017.

Ben, who is studying level 3 IT at Craven College, is impressed by the speed of response from the council’s engineers and recently was given the chance to see first-hand how they do the job.

Paul Gilmore, the county council’s electrical engineering manager, said: “Because of Ben’s interest and his dedication to keeping the lights working correctly, we invited him to spend some time at our Leeming Bar depot to explore the work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure the county is well-lit and safe – and that we use the lighting in the most cost-effective ways possible.”

Ben, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, explained how his interest grew.

“It all started when the council rolled out their new reporting portal system a few years ago,” he said. “The reporting tool has enabled me to report various issues with the street lights in my local area. By helping the county council and their engineers to come out to fix the issues in the quickest way possible to ensure that street lights are fully working at night, that will help the safety of other people. By doing my bit, I am helping the county council and their engineers to save time and it enables them to use the time for other important commitments.”

Ben’s visit - which took place before the Covid-19 restrictions were in place - included seeing how his online reports are dealt with by our contractor, a demonstration of our design processes, reprogramming LED lanterns that will be used in the Skipton area and going up in a cherry picker to change some of the lighting within our depot.

Ben Hall on cherry picker

“I was fully kitted up with personal protective equipment to keep me protected,” said Ben, “and I went onto one of their cherry pickers with one of their highway contractors, which is something I have never been on before. When up at height and near to a street lantern, I went ahead and changed a photocell sensor to a part-night photocell, which will make the lantern go out at midnight to the early hours of the morning.

“The next thing was to have a look around the depot and at their new and current stock of street lights and columns. Paul explained what type of lanterns they use for different purposes and I was able to program their lanterns to change the lighting levels that will be used for their proposed schemes across the county.”

Paul explained: “We are in the last stages of our programme to install LED lights across the county, with only about 6,000 out of 44,000 to complete.

“Since the programme began, we have experienced a lantern failure rate of 0.6 per cent. This is particularly good when compared to other lamp types, such as mercury, low-pressure sodium, high-pressure sodium and fluorescent.

“On the whole, we are happy with the performance that we are getting from the new LED fittings and our reported defects have fallen by around 50 per cent since the start of the programme.”

Ben added: “I would like to say a massive thank you for organising this special day that I will never forget. I have learned quite a lot in one day and experienced something that I have never done before.”

And Ben’s parents, Steve and Sally, said: “Thank you for giving Ben such a day to remember with your team. He has talked of nothing else since he came back and we are both so pleased that he has been given this opportunity. He is also so pleased to know that his reporting things hasn't gone unnoticed. Many thanks for your support and for valuing Ben's input.