Thursday, 28 May 2015

New lights at Kingston University, Knights Park campus.

White lights reflected on the water
Reflection looking north-east
The Hogsmill river at Kingston University's Knights Park campus, is an important site for bats. We have undertaken several bat walks in the past and this year (not for the first time) bats been seen flying  in the daytime, during the rising spring temperatures. However light spillage onto the water has always been of concern. The bright, white lights, have covered much of the water surface in front of the cafe/bar area. This has an effect on many species including plants and insects. Hundreds of insects stuck to the wall of the building attest to a light attraction or the 'vacuum' effect of  the light as it 'sucks' the insects  out of the surrounding habitat. 

Spillage onto the river of the  old lighting system
After the  new lights were installed
The university has installed modern new lighting, which is 'warmer' on the colour spectrum, and will be less attractive to insects. The lights are more 'directional', which means there is less spillage onto the water. But they are actually brighter where the light is needed and when used only when needed, as they are on passive infra red sensors, so will switch off automatically when not activated. The photographs show the effect on the water; rather than the 'white' water in the first photograph, the river corridor remains dark, which is the area that the bats require to forage for food.

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