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LED Streetlights and Insects

Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.



  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,762
    I remember reading about this earlier this year. It is not just street lights of course, there are also all the security lights and garden lighting we have in our homes. Lights attract insects and their predators, bats etc. Everything we do has an impact on the balance of nature, not always in a good way.
  • Adey.Adey. Posts: 25
    I work in construction. Every project I do now has to have extensive Bat surveys and light surveys completed for light pollution. 
    If deemed to polluting the scheme will not be granted planning permission.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,055
    I understand that @batesadrian :) ... and the LED lights were introduced in an attempt to mitigate the effect of light pollution .... but it seems that they bring with them our old friend 'unintended consequences' ....  :/

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Adey.Adey. Posts: 25
    Sir Issac Newton - "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction"

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,055
    And 'we don't know what we don't know' .... who knew that LED lights would have a bad effect on night-flying insects ... until we put them in street lamps ... 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,929
    I worked for a street lighting contractor for over 20 years, it's a subject that many people don't think about until they're directly affected by it.
    The effects of light pollution,  "Something needs to be done."
    The cost of street lighting, " Something needs to be done. "

    To offset both these things, street lights will be dimmed/switched off for so many hours overnight.
     "Fine as long as it isn't the light outside/ near to my house".
    "What about my son or daughter walking down the road in the early hours ?". 
    "Only dim or switch off lighting on the main roads"

    I have some idea of the amount of time and effort that was spent in trying to come up with solutions for both light pollution and costs, and it isn't as easy a solution as you might think. 
    There is a much more efficient repair system in place locally than there was "back in the day", fewer outages in single columns etc. 
    Unfortunately the outcome of this is the effect on insects etc. But how many people would want to return to the orange glow of sodium lighting to offset it ?
  • It is difficult.  As an amateur astronomer, I'd prefer no street lighting, none at all.  We stargazers used to be able to use filters to remove most of the old Sodium street lamp pollution, as those primarily produce light at a single wavelength (obvs. yellow.)  White LEDs, however, produce wide-band light pollution which we can't filter out, so the stars are simply gone for many of us now.
    However, given the energy savings made by using LEDs, correctly installed (ie pointing down and only lighting the intended area) is a compromise I can accept is necessary to help reduce fossil fuel use.
    What I hate with a passion are home 'floodlights' most of which do nothing but cause annoyance for neighbours.  Oh, and empty but night-lit office blocks - that simply needs to be made illegal, and fines imposed.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • This is the actual report of the study made into this matter of street lighting and it's effect on insects, bats, and birds.

    The study was led by the 25 year old son of a good friend of mine. In an absolutely awful turn of events, two weeks ago young Douglas Boyes passed away, by his own hand. He was a fearsomely talented young man, well liked by almost everyone who knew him. You can read about him in this tribute -

    My apologies if this is a bit offside as it were but I felt that as this discussion was about a subject brought to public attention by this very talented young scientist, it was appropriate that people should know.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,055
    How very very sad @garynortheast … my thoughts are with his family and all who loved and cared about him. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,717
    Just after we bought this house, we were talking to the mother in law and I mentioned that we turned away from another slightly more suitable house as it had street lighting right outside. She couldn't understand that we would not want to live near streetlights. 
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