Two Suffolk districts agree to reduce street lighting

Brightstreet lights

Mid Suffolk and Babergh have agreed to reduce street light intensity - Credit: Antony Kelly

Reduced street lighting plans have been agreed for two Suffolk districts to help combat the harmful affects on humans and wildlife.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils both passed motions which pledged to reduce the intensity of outdoor lights in appropriate locations, or turn street lights off entirely where they are not wanted.

The motions also agree to add guidance into supplementary planning documents to guide housing developers on their lighting proposals in future planning applications.

It said that while recognising its role in helping people feel safe, any new or artificial lighting – including street lights, advertising boards or commercial or residential illumination – would be planned to meet the lowest possible level of intensity.

The debate comes at a time of heightened discussion around the impact of street lighting in protecting the public, in particular women and girls following the high profile kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard in London earlier this year.

Mid Suffolk’s Independent deputy leader, Gerard Brewster highlighted that health and safety implications must be considered, which he said “in areas like Stowmarket could suffer”.

Independent councillor at Babergh, Trevor Cresswell said: “I believe people who live in villages there should be a way they get home safely, and also where there is violence and people get attacked because it’s dark, I do think we have got to have a balance so I do believe there should be lighting to a certain time of night.”

Dr Dan Pratt

Dr Dan Pratt, Mid Suffolk District Council Green councillor for Battisford and Ringshall - Credit: MID SUFFOLK GREEN PARTY

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Dr Dan Pratt, Green councillor at Mid Suffolk who brought forward the motion, said: “Streetlighting using LED lamps emit a brighter, whiter light with higher levels in the blue region of visible light than their traditional counterparts.

“This shift in the emitted spectral composition towards blue light has well-known impacts on the biological rhythms and functions in both humans and animals, particularly in nocturnal insect species and bats.”

He added: “Our council can take action to make sure lighting schemes on new developments meet the best environmental standards. We pledged to bring forward proposals to take forward actions to protect and enhance wildlife in the district.”

For humans, Mr Pratt said research had demonstrated impacts on hormones, while for wildlife it could upset biological rhythms around foraging, migration and reproduction behaviours.

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