*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Lightning conductors: a few words of advice

by
08 February 2013

iStock

From the Revd Christopher Miles
Sir, - I was saddened to read of the severe lightning damage to St Odulph's, Pillaton ( News, 1 February). Churchwardens and church councils have a difficult task in balancing the finances of their churches, and some feel that they cannot afford the cost of good lightning protection.

Lightning protection is probably the oldest electrical technology, having been invented by Benjamin Franklin more than 250 years ago. For most of that time, it has been recognised that a single down conductor provides inadequate protection. A second down conductor splits the current, halves the enormous voltage built up during a lightning strike, and so reduces the risk of flashover with consequent possible fire or structural damage.

A well-protected tower may provide fairly good protection, but quite probably leave the chancel unprotected: lightning does not always strike the highest point. The risk of a direct strike is comparatively low, maybe once every 200 to 500 years, depending on the size of the church and its location.

What is perhaps ten times as frequent is a strike in the vicinity of the church or its service cables (power and telephone) powerful enough to damage electrical and electronic equipment. Well-installed surge protection can virtually eliminate such damage. It is also important to consider the lightning-protection implications of installing external electrical equipment such as mobile-phone relays, broadband relays, PV panels, sensors, cameras, lighting and their cables, to provide either sufficient separation or, if not, to bond electrically to the nearest down conductor where this can be done. Regular review and professional advice are important.

CHRISTOPHER MILES
Lightning Protection Consultant for
Rochester and Canterbury dioceses
2 Spa Close, Hadlow
Tonbridge, Kent TN11 0JX

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

Forthcoming Events

6-7 September 2022
Preaching as Pilgrimage conference
From the College of Preachers.

27-28 September 2022
humbler church Bigger God conference
The HeartEdge Conference in Manchester includes the Theology Slam Live Final.

More events

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four* articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)

*Until the end of June: we’re doubling the number of free articles to eight, to celebrate the publication of our Platinum Jubilee double issue.