Impact of lighting is ‘a complex issue’
As one of Europe's greenest cities the environmental impact of more lighting in Sheffield needs to be considered.
Higher lighting levels could have a detrimental effect on carbon emissions, wildlife and flora and as such some of the city’s prominent environmental campaigners say the issue needs to be debated.
A report by the International Dark Sky Association said artificial light can disrupt ecosystems causing wild birds to be sent off migratory paths, reduce insect activity and impact the mating habits for other animals.
For Sheffield to incorporate improved lighting across its dark spaces it would need to consult with relevant wildlife and conservation groups.
Dr Bing Jones, a retired doctor and member of the global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion, said: “It’s a complex issue because you want to have better street lighting for personal safety, but you also need to consider the environmental impacts.” Lindy Stone, of Sheffield Friends of the Earth, acknowledged the harmful effects too much lighting can have on local bird populations.
But the environmental impact can be reduced by the placement of the lights. Andy Chaplin, Treasurer of the Friends of Hillsborough Park, explained how issues had been mitigated at that location.
He said: “The lighting in the park is not that close to the lake, which is where most of the ducks and geese hang out.”
Campaigners for Our Bodies Our Streets’ listened to the environmental concerns and altered their petition – now it calls for soft lighting instead of bright LED lights in order to minimise disruption to wildlife while increasing feelings of safety.
The impacts of new methods of lighting also need to be considered to ensure the best alternatives are being used.
Green Party councillor Martin Phipps said: “That will need to be analyzed to make sure that we don’t end up using more energy.”