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Trapping and LED street lights

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Old Saturday 27th June 2020, 07:51   #1
Odonate
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Trapping and LED street lights

Hi all

I'm having a really bad year for trapping, catching almost nothing compared to last year. My catches are about 80-90% down on last year in terms of simple numbers. I have tried two new bulbs but no change (40W actinic). Yes there have been a lot of very clear nights and it has been very dry but I'm starting to think it might have something with the council having put in LED street lighting. Anyone had the same issue or know if it is an issue?

O
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Old Saturday 27th June 2020, 07:56   #2
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Originally Posted by Odonate View Post
Hi all

I'm having a really bad year for trapping, catching almost nothing compared to last year. My catches are about 80-90% down on last year in terms of simple numbers. I have tried two new bulbs but no change (40W actinic). Yes there have been a lot of very clear nights and it has been very dry but I'm starting to think it might have something with the council having put in LED street lighting. Anyone had the same issue or know if it is an issue?

O
It definitely is an issue if you're too close to any, competing light source.
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Old Saturday 27th June 2020, 08:24   #3
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I hadn't really thought about it but our council is one of those that turns the lights off midnight to 0400 (and they've been turned down somewhat even prior to midnight) - presumably this is actually helping my catches? Perhaps the OP needs to complain that their council isn't doing their bit for sustainability by not turning the lights off?

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Old Saturday 27th June 2020, 11:19   #4
THE_FERN
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I hadn't really thought about it but our council is one of those that turns the lights off midnight to 0400 (and they've been turned down somewhat even prior to midnight) - presumably this is actually helping my catches? Perhaps the OP needs to complain that their council isn't doing their bit for sustainability by not turning the lights off?

John
If there's the opportunity it's great to do that (complain /lobby). Councils spend very large portions of their budgets on street lighting and in many places the cash is completely wasted. Unless things have changed since when I last researched the issue, the evidence around security provided by street lights is weak, and you should be able to retain that through movement /heat sensors so the lights switch on when people pass by.

Although there's no good evidence (just because no-one's bothered to research it), I'm convinced street lighting has caused widespread declines in moths especially. It's actually a bit of a scandal how little research there has been on the negative impacts of streetlights. I think there's quite compelling anecdotal evidence of the bad effects on human sleep for example. (Good enough to warrant proper research. )

The early leds at least had large uv and blue components. But that was before they got good enough for widespread street deployment. I don't know if it's still true but it probably is (the least harmful were probably the old sodium lights). In principle, it should be possible to design and deploy less harmful leds.
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Old Saturday 27th June 2020, 13:41   #5
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There was a programme on Radio 4 about it a few years back, can't remember what is was called or whether it would still be on 'sounds' (iplayer for radio), but from what I remember, there has been study on the different types of light and it effects wildlife especially moths and bats but also foxes, badgers and hedgehogs that feed on the insects below the street lights that have battered themselves to death flying into the light. I can't remember the conclusions from the study. I'm also pretty sure there's been something in 'British Wildlife' magazine within the past five years. I think the study was done by either Sheffield or Bristol Uni.
Sorry if this isn't much help.
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Old Saturday 27th June 2020, 14:59   #6
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Artificial lighting worldwide must have a not inconsiderable effect on nocturnal invertebrates...perhaps we should all eat more carrots?...now there’s an investment for the future.
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Old Saturday 27th June 2020, 16:36   #7
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Councils spend very large portions of their budgets on street lighting
A quick Google. First detailed council spending I could find was North Yorkshire. Street lighting was less than 1% hardly a "very large portion".
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Old Monday 29th June 2020, 08:40   #8
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Thanks everyone. If I get some time I'll see if there is anything out there and post it here.

O
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Old Monday 29th June 2020, 08:51   #9
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Easier to find than I thought in a quick look. This paper has some nice data showing how LED and particularly metal halide lights attract insects more than old fashioned sodium bulbs.

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Old Monday 29th June 2020, 09:10   #10
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Originally Posted by WalterRayle View Post
There was a programme on Radio 4 about it a few years back, can't remember what is was called or whether it would still be on 'sounds' (iplayer for radio), but from what I remember, there has been study on the different types of light and it effects wildlife especially moths and bats but also foxes, badgers and hedgehogs that feed on the insects below the street lights that have battered themselves to death flying into the light. I can't remember the conclusions from the study. I'm also pretty sure there's been something in 'British Wildlife' magazine within the past five years. I think the study was done by either Sheffield or Bristol Uni.
Sorry if this isn't much help.
I'm not sure which this is, but i'd be surprised if things have moved on much since the Royal commission on environmental pollution's light at night report. At that time, there was essentially only one compendium of impacts. Reading that, it was very obvious that the underlying research was scanty at best. Despite the Commission's report, I'd be surprised if things have changed very much. The estimates of number of birds killed by collisions with buildings in the States was very high but I found it hard to square with my everyday experience in London. I came away unconvinced by much of the extrapolation but clear that the anecdotal evidence of negative impacts was strong
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