Energy-saving street lights should be dimmed or turned off altogether because they are harmful to insects and other wildlife, according to academics. A study by Exeter University found that LED street lights acted as a draw for predatory spiders and beetles, destroying vegetation and damaging other species. Pests were more likely to be attracted to grassland patches lit by cold white energy-efficient lighting than those with conventional sodium street lamps, the researchers said. The number of spiders and beetles drawn was drastically cut when lights were dimmed by 50 per cent, or switched off between midnight and 4am. However, the study said that “averting the ecological impacts of night-time lighting may ultimately require avoiding its use altogether”. Thomas Davies, from the university’s environment and sustainability institute, warned that LEDs could have “potentially profound consequences” for the natural environment. Many local authorities have recently scrapped traditional sodium bulbs in favour of LEDs, which burn less electricity and provide more directional light. Transport for London announced plans three years ago to convert all lights on its major roads to LED bulbs to cut energy consumption by 40 per cent and save almost £2 million.
Times 6th Feb 2017 read more »