Date: February 6, 2017
Source: University of Exeter
LED street lighting can be tailored to reduce its impacts on the environment, according to new research by the University of Exeter.
The UK-based study found predatory spiders and beetles were drawn to grassland patches lit by LED lighting at night, but the number of species affected was markedly reduced when the lights were dimmed by 50% and switched off between midnight and 4am.
LEDs made up just 9% of the global lighting market in 2011, but forecasts suggest they will account for 69% by 2020.
This has led to concerns about their effects on plants and animals, and the Exeter scientists say research is urgently needed to understand how best to prevent unforeseen ecological effects.
"We are making fundamental changes to the way we light the night-time environment, with potentially profound consequences for a range of species," said Dr Thomas Davies, of the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus.
"The growth of LED lighting is an issue of global concern, and the number of documented impacts on the environment is growing rapidly.
"Our research shows that local authorities might be able to manage LED lighting in a way that reduces its environmental impacts. We now need to establish whether this is the case for a greater variety of species.