6th May 2020

Bats and Artificial Lighting Symposium 2019

Talybont on Usk reservoir Brecon Breacons © Dan Santillio by kind permission of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

When did you last look at a night sky lit only by the moon and stars? Sadly, to urban dwellers it just isn’t possible. In today’s world it is rare for most of us to experience complete darkness at night, but the recent national lock down has to some extent helped us to realise how man-made light and sound has taken over our world. Not only has it made us more aware of the natural sounds around us, and highlighted how wildlife responds to change, but also raised the appreciation of many to the benefits for human health of interaction with the natural environment.

Light and sound (audible and ultrasonic) from man-made sources are features of human-dominated landscapes, presenting a considerable challenge for nocturnal fauna, such as bats. Bats are a vital part of our native wildlife, accounting for almost a third of all mammal species in the UK and occupying a wide range of habitats in both urban and rural areas. Artificial light at night is estimated to be increasing at 6% per year and yet we still don’t fully understand the impact it has on wildlife. In order to share learning and experiences of best practice in terms of artificial lighting and its impact on bats, the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) and their partners brought together experts from academia, the lighting industry and conservation in May 2019. A document detailing the proceedings, Bats and Artificial Lighting Symposium, has just been published and is available HERE

Presentations included ongoing research investigating a range of topics and case studies. Lighting is known to have adverse effects on the activity of many bat species. It frequently presents an issue when new residential developments and roads are planned and dark habitats bats use are not considered A broad public perception exists that increased levels of street lamp illumination will lead to a reduction in levels of crime. If this is so, to what extent?

Do bat species react to different light colours in their natural habitat? A survey exploring the role the river in Bath plays in local bat ecology led to the production of Guidance to Balance the Needs of Bats and Development.

A clear message emerged through the whole programme. Interdisciplinary working between bat specialists, planning professionals, landscape professionals and lighting professionals is essential to reverse adverse effects, restore darker night skies and improve environmental quality.

To Find out more about the impact that lighting has on bats please visit our page HERE

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