Oct 4, 2016: UK city, Northampton is all set to replace its traditional streetlights with LEDs in October 2016. Although the city authorities are excited as the LED street lighting will help the city to save tremendous amount of energy, they are also concerned over the intensity of LED lighting. LEDs are 100 times more intense as compared to the existing lights.
LED lighting often pose threat to drivers, particularly due to its over-powering glare, the drivers often get blinded. Additionally, they also cause air pollution, and damage the environment.
A local group Safelight Skylight Northampton has, therefore, suggested the city authorities to install glare shields on all LED streetlights to protect drivers, pedestrians and the environment.
Why glare shields?
Glare shields will provide safety as it can prevent night blindness. This will also keep pedestrians safe from accidents and crime. Secondly, when the strong LED lights will have glare protections, the view of the stars and the sky will be visible to the residents.
Glare shields will also contribute towards good health as they will help to prevent disruption of sleep patterns caused by bright LED lights. Glare shields also help migrating birds and other animals that can be harmed by light pollution.
Besides Safelight Skylight Northampton, other groups such as American Medical Association (AMA), International Dark Sky Association, and the Illuminating Engineering Society also recommend glare shields to protect against harmful bright lights from LEDs.
Convincing the city
Northampton city officials claim that the LED installations is being done as per the AMA guidelines as the “color temperature” of the lights, which is the maximum permissible, is not over the limit. However, the AMA report is also clear about the requirement for glare shields. Safelight Skylight Northampton believes that the city officials are not following the true AMA guidelines.
The addition of the glare shields will cost an additional 7%, which is not a big deal when safety and lives are at stake, according to Safelight Skylight Northampton.