It is that time of year again – when Christmas lights are switched on to bring wonder to communities and brighten otherwise dark winder nights.
It is also a busy time for Star Platforms teams across the UK as cherry pickers and scissor lifts are hired out to customers to hang Christmas lights on buildings and street furniture in time to celebrate the festive period.
Star Platforms has a wide range of access platforms that are ideal for teams to work safely at height as they put up lights and associated decorations at this time of year.
That said, the cost of living crisis is causing some local authorities to tighten their belts and cut Christmas light costs.
Bournemouth and Christchurch Council, in Dorset, is saving £50,000 by leaving thousands of lights in their boxes. Medway Council, in Kent, plans to save £75,000 by doing the same.
One of the biggest Christmas lights shocks this year, is the decision not to have a switch on event in Manchester. The amount of construction work underway in the city centre means there is no safe location for it.
Other local authorities and business groups are determined to put on their annual Christmas light shows. They argue the cost is more than off-set by the opportunity to attract thousands of extra visitors into town and city centres.
Ideal MEWP range
Star Platforms Sales Manager Richard Stok: “We have regular cherry picker hire contracts with customers responsible for hanging Christmas lights every year.
“But, thanks to our large access hire fleet, we still have capacity to help new customers. We also have an ideal range of MEWPs for every task associated with preparing sites for the festival period.
“Safety when working at height is a paramount concern, so switching from ladder systems to scissor lifts and cherry pickers for hanging Christmas lights is a sensible move and is cost effective as well, because of the productivity gains from using powered access.”
With depots in Cheshire (Warrington), Suffolk (Thetford), Berkshire (Reading), Leicestershire (Coalville), Bedfordshire (Luton), Somerset (Bridgewater), and Kent (Tonbridge), Star Platforms can provide a national MEWP hire services for Christmas lights installation.
Indoor and outdoor platforms
Ideal cherry pickers in its hire fleet include the Genie Z45/25J bi-energy articulating boom lift. It can be operated on diesel or electric power and has a maximum working height of 15.94m and outreach of 7.65m.
Or there is the Niftylift HR12 4×4 bi-energy rough terrain scissor lift, with 12.2m of working height and an outreach of 6.1m and the ability to operate across uneven ground.
Another option, for customers that want to work at height indoors and outdoors, and benefit from zero-emissions operation, is the Skyjack SJ30 ARJE electric boom lift, with a working height of 11m and an outreach of 6.25m.
Star Platforms also has strong options for access platforms that allow Christmas lights installers to work from scissor lifts – which is ideal if both light systems and decorations need to be taken to height.
They include the Skyjack SJ3014 micro scissor lift – which is perfect for installing festival lights indoors in shops, shopping centres and office atriums – and is very capable in constrained spaces.
Other customers go for the Skyjack SJ3219 electric scissor lift. It can be operated indoors and outdoors to a maximum working height of 7.8m. Its large deck can be extended by a further 910mm.
Or, for outdoor Christmas lights and decoration installation, customers can select the Skyjack SJ6832, a diesel powered all terrain scissor lift with a maximum working height of 9.92m.
Skyjack SJ30 ARJE
Skyjack SJ6832 RT
Service to the power of two
While Star platforms delivers powered access options to for events and facilities management specialists in the run-up to Christmas, its sister company, Star Power, can deliver the temporary power solutions to light them up.
Star Power is a mobile generator hire company that can offer a full range of generators and associated equipment, including batteries to create hybrid temporary power solutions that are highly sustainable, are ideal for low-emissions urban areas and control costs.
In this way, Star Platforms and Star Power can provide an integrated festive events service that streamlines operations, reduces implementation risks, and delivers optimal performance.
The contribution made by the kind of MEWPs in Star Platforms’ hire fleet cannot be underestimated. Hundreds of thousands of people will be gathering in villages, towns and cities across the UK for Christmas lights switch on ceremonies over the next month.
In all cases, the events will have been made possible because electricians have been able to work safely from boom lifts and scissor lifts.
One of the first major Christmas lights switch on events of the season takes place in Oxford Street, London’s most famous shopping street. Its display, with more than 330,000 LED bulbs lights, goes live on 2nd November 2023.
In the Midlands, the Birmingham city centre switch on takes place on the 15th of November 2023. While the Christmas lights in Chester, Cheshire, are set to shine for the first time on 23rd November 2023.
Meanwhile, thousands of visitors will attend the festive light switch on in the centre of Norwich, Norfolk, on the 17th of November – and the same will happen during Luton’s switch on event on 25th of November.
Home safety vital
Given that most local authorities and commercial organisations are switched on to the need to work at height safely, it is householders who need to think hardest about how they put up their lights and decorations.
The health and safety charity, RoSPA, says more than 1,000 people are hurt each year while decorating their Christmas trees – usually while trying to deck the highest branches.
Another survey suggested 2.6 million people have fallen while using unstable chairs or stools to put up decorations. And a sizable number of people fall out of lofts while retrieving stored decorations.
There is certainly no sign that the popularity of Christmas lights is dimming. Homebase says the energy cost of household lights is a staggering £189million, and that is at 2022 prices.
However, using energy saving LED lights is helping keep costs under control, with the cost of lighting a Christmas tree falling from over £33 to less than £7 in recent years thanks to the new technology.
Find out more
Businesses and local authorities that need working at height support for putting up their Christmas lights – through cherry picker hire or scissor lifter hire – can contact Star Platform’s friendly team of experts.Back to all news