Not all light is right

man standing in front of street light turned on

[Library picture]

LED street lighting might save a local authority more money in terms of energy efficiency but some systems – including lights used throughout Bath – are having a devastating impact on insect life.

The problem of light pollution has been on Bath Preservation Trust’s radar for many years. As part of its Dark Skies – Rewilding the Night campaign this year, BPT has joined together with Grant Associates, Seed Landscape Design, Bath City Farm, Transition Bath, Bath Astronomers, FACE (Families Acting on Climate Emergency) and Starlit Skies to alert B&NES Council and its Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency to the evident risk posed by certain types of LED lighting, which are common throughout Bath and every town and city in the UK.

Here is the letter that Alex Sherman, the CEO of the Trust – has sent to Cllr Sarah Warren:

Alex Sherman

Alex Sherman, CEO of Bath Preservation Trust says: “Low-energy LED lighting has helped enormously to reduce carbon emissions as it is so efficient to run. But the choice of lighting colour and how it is installed can have very major consequences and international evidence is growing which shows blue-rich spectrum, bright-white and cold colour lighting has dramatic negative impacts to wildlife and to people. What’s more, with lighting so cheap to run, more LEDs are being installed and our skies are getting ever lighter. Simple choices can help to favour nature whilst keeping the wonder of dark skies and stargazing, and I am proud to join the many partners and experts to work with B&NES, hoping to make Bath a dark-sky, nature-positive city.”

BPT will continue to call for a collective “dimming of the city” to tackle harmful light pollution and reduce energy waste, in line with the charity’s “Conservation in Action” and “Dark Skies” themes for 2023. The effect of light pollution on dark skies character, the human experience of the night sky, and the balance of ecosystems is just one area of conservation and sustainability that BPT is tackling through its campaigns and events this year. 

Today, Thursday 15th June, BPT will host an evening of discussion around energy-conscious design and approaches to improving the performance of older homes – a topic BPT anticipates will be of great interest to home-owners preparing to reduce energy waste and cost ahead of winter. At this event, Architect Ian Walker at CASA Architects will present the retrofit journey for his home at Bradford Road (Winner of the Architects Journal Retrofit Award), opening up a discussion of low impact solutions for mid-century homes. Further information about this event can be found here.

Bath Preservation Trust (BPT) is “calling communities to climate action” during The Great Big Green Week– the UK’s biggest ever celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature – by publishing helpful new local lighting guidance for residents and businesses in Bath.

The charity hopes that this new guidance, which advises people how they can make changes to external lighting in order to reduce light pollution and sky glow, will help to motivate climate action across Bath’s various communities.

The new lighting guidance is available on the BPT website here.

1 Comment

  1. BPT are recommending the adoption of LEDs below 3000 Kelvin. B&NES could therefore do worse than implement the recommendation in its own Lighting Strategy document of replacing the 4000K installations with 2700K throughout the historic area. See pages 14-15:

    “B&NES are in the process of replacing SON streetlighting with 4000K LED lanterns in the interests of increasing levels of perceived brightness and minimising energy use. Each lantern is capable of being dimmed via a city-wide lighting control system.

    “The diagram opposite indicates the streets that are lit with 4000K LED lanterns at the time of writing. Those indicated in red (i.e. 4000K LED installed within the city centre) are required to be replaced with 2700K sources as part of the PRMS work.

    “Following a meeting on 05/11/2012 with Speirs + Major and B&NES all further streetlighting upgrades in the city centre were put on hold until the PRMS work was concluded.”

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