Bexley Natural Environment Forum supports Bexley Council’s proposed reduction in night-lighting and the installation of more energy efficient lighting systems both for environmental (light pollution, carbon emissions reductions) reasons and because this is the sort of financial saving that we do want to see made.
The Forum has warned, however, that the Council should be careful to ensure that in reducing the unit costs of lighting it does not end up increasing the total amount of night lighting, and has argued that benefits to wildlife should be a key consideration in implementation of Bexley’s scheme through buffering around, and creating darker corridors between key habitats. Since lights will still be on during, for example, key Bat foraging periods, it says it is critical that any new equipment chosen takes into account the latest research on the effects of the light spectra emitted on the behaviour of other species as well as on human health. In particular it is important to minimise the amount of blue light which is an issue with LEDs, as it both more disruptive to biological systems and scatters further than red.
The full BNEF submission is available here:
‘Cutting the cost of street lighting in Bexley’ which sets out the Council’s rationale. The Council has taken the decision to make savings on the amount it spends on electricity for the borough’s street lights and a pilot starts in October 2015.
Projected savings are expected to reach £305,000 per annum by the 2017/18 financial year.
The Council said it would consult ‘key stakeholders’, but has not talked to BNEF yet, despite the obvious wildlife dimension which suggests that, yet again it is failing to properly factor biodiversity into its decision-making, which it is supposed by law to do. In our opinion the potential benefits to wildlife are a positive selling point for what might be a controversial policy for some people.