Dark Skies and Street Lights

CPRE is a leading voice in the campaign against excessive light pollution caused by streetlights, flood lights and security lighting, making our starry skies ever harder to find. Light at night can disrupt natural patterns of behaviour in both humans and wildlife, having a negative impact on our wellbeing and the natural world around us.

We have a fantastic article about street lighting from a leading lighting engineer in our next Ways of Seeing Magazine – out in January 2020.

Modern developments in LED lighting have made brighter, cheaper white light more readily available. Domestic security lighting is seeing a rise in popularity. Local Authorities are replacing old street lighting with new LED lighting that is low in energy use but that has greater levels of illuminance that is whiter in colour.

It is not an all-or-nothing debate. Good street lighting can be shaded and directional. Shades can be used that use a less ‘blue’ white light. Street lighting need not be at the maximum illuminance possible with LED lighting. This can curb the spread and harm caused by light pollution. Better understanding about the impact of excessive light at night can influence the use of domestic security lighting.

CPRE have created a NightBlight website where you can find out more about our work and how you can help. It has interactive maps of England’s light pollution and dark skies, so you can see what is happening in your area.

The International Dark-Sky Association provides fantastic guidance on LED lighting.

Blue Light at night can have a negative impact on wildlife behaviour and reproduction, can worsen ‘skyglow’ and increase glare, and is not necessary. Blue-rich sources of light are the most efficient LEDs in terms of conversion of electricity to light but there are other options available which should be considered.