Sunday 25 September 2016

Street lighting could pose a risk to health and wildlife

Published 10/04/2015 | 02:30

Light pollution could be costing as much as €460,000 a year in wasted energy
Light pollution could be costing as much as €460,000 a year in wasted energy

Light pollution could be costing as much as €460,000 a year in wasted energy, and having a negative effect on our health and wildlife.

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Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have found that the capital's city lights dominate the natural sky background, and even impact on heritage sites such as Glendalough in Wicklow, some 45km away.

Trinity physicist Professor Brian Espey said that public lighting accounts for up to 35pc of a local authority's energy use, and that it costs €29m a year to power the country's 420,000 street lights.

But as much as 30pc of this could be wasted energy because poorly designed or inefficient lighting is used, resulting in the light spreading and illuminating areas such as closed public parks or back gardens for no reason.

This could be impacting on animals, including bats and insects, but also on human health, with some studies suggesting that increases in cancer occur in neighbourhoods that are overly lit at night.

Irish Independent

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