Street lights may be helpful in drivers being able to get around, but they can be very detrimental to the health of bats. Worrying about the wellbeing of bats, one English county has come up with an ingenious solution.
The county of Worcestershire is getting ready to switch over to bat-friendly street lights that are the first of their kind in the United Kingdom. The county made the choice to do this after research showed certain species of bat are light-shy and will not cross roads that are lit by white lights, which then stops them from being able to get food and water. Since bright street lights also attract flies and insects the bats feed on, they reduce the food available for bats in the area.
In contrast, LED lights are red in color and use a unique “recipe” of light which do not affect bats at all. Similar lighting schemes have been used in the Netherlands, and they have not affected the flying and feeding habits of the bats at all. The LED lights in Worcestershire will be spread along a 60-meter swath of highway near the Warndon Wood nature reserve.
“These ground-breaking lights are a great example where we have been able to adapt the usual standards to better suit the local environment,” said Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure. “The adapted lighting being used may look a little different at first, but we’d like to assure those using the area at night that the color of the lights has been through stringent testing and adheres to all safety checks.”
The LED lights do not affect the visibility of drivers and pedestrians, as fully compliant with the required standards. Not only do these lights meet the needs of humans, they also support the daily nutrition requirements for bats.